Local News Articles

Man Gets 10 Year Sentence in Child Rape Case

July 27, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 26 year old man, originally charged with four counts of rape of a child and two counts of aggravated sexual battery, received a ten year sentence in criminal court Friday.

Derek Riggs pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual battery. Judge David Patterson handed down a ten year sentence in each case to be served concurrently. Riggs' name will be added to the state sexual offender registry and he will be under lifetime supervision. All other counts against him were dismissed including a domestic assault. He was given credit for time served from April 27th, 2007 to July 25th, 2008.

Riggs was arrested in April, 2007 by the Smithville Police Department. Former Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano, in a prepared news release at that time stated that "Smithville Investigators assigned to the Sexual Assault unit had received information from a family member that Riggs was having sexual contact with his two biological children ages 4 and 6 in a motor home he was staying in on Smith Road. Through a series of interviews with family members and the juvenile victims along with forensic information, Investigators were able to determine that Riggs had sodomized and raped his four year old daughter and six year old son on a number of occasions. Smithville Police conducted a taped interview with Riggs who did admit to the sexual contacts."

32 year old Greg Hallback pleaded guilty to solicitation for resale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a two year sentence, suspended to time served. He will be on good behavior probation. He was given credit for 272 days of jail time served.

45 year old Edward Judkins pleaded guilty to simple possession and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended except for 60 days to serve. The sentence is to run consecutive to another case against him.

64 year old Billy Eaton pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a four year sentence, all suspended except for 90 days to serve. He was fined $2,000 and must perform 100 hours of community service work. Eaton was given credit for 17 days of jail time served.

27 year old Timothy Likens pleaded guilty to violation of the sex offender registry and received a two year sentence, all suspended to time served. He also pleaded guilty to violation of community supervision, and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to time served. The cases are to run concurrently. He was given credit for115 days of jail time served.

27 year old Brandon Caldwell pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He was sentenced to four years, all suspended to probation. He must pay a $2,000 fine, perform 100 hours of community service work, and make restitution of $150 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Caldwell was given five days of jail credit.

37 year old David Vanatta pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a four year sentence in each case, all suspended except for 90 days to serve. The sentences are to run concurrently but consecutive to a violation of probation he is serving from General Sessions Court. Vanatta must pay a $2,000 fine, perform 100 hours of community service work, and make restitution of $180 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. He was given jail credit from May 19th to July 25th.

49 year old Gwynn Prater pleaded guilty to three counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a three year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a violation of probation against him. Prater received jail credit from December 7th, 2007 to July 25th, 2008.

30 year old Jeremy Bandy pleaded guilty to two counts of sale and two counts of delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. He was sentenced to four years on the two counts of sale of a controlled substance to run concurrently. He was placed on probation, ordered to make restitution of $180, perform 100 hours of community service work, and pay a $2,000 fine.

27 year old Kenny Bain pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance. One of the counts was dismissed. He was sentenced to three years but will be on supervised probation. He must pay a $2,000 fine, undergo an alcohol and drug assessment, make restitution of $50 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and perform 100 hours of community service work.

34 year old Scotty Wayne Neisz pleaded guilty to one count of statutory rape and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. All sentences are to run concurrently. He received a total of four years, all suspended except for one year to serve. Neisz must make restitution to the victims in the theft cases and he must comply with all sex offender requirements. He was given credit for 231 days of jail time served.

29 year old Scotty Knowles pleaded guilty to theft and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended. The case is to run concurrently with a violation of probation case in DeKalb County General Sessions Court. He was given jail credit from February 10th through June 5th.

23 year old Nickey Reece, Jr. pleaded guilty to simple assault and theft. He was sentenced to 11 months and 29 days in each case, all suspended to time served. He will be on probation. The cases are to run concurrently. Reece must make restitution of $2,000. He was given jail credit of 121 days.

63 year old James Harold Davis, charged with introduction of contraband into the jail, was granted judicial diversion probation for a period of three years. He must perform 100 hours of community service work.

25 year old Paul Eric Ervin, charged with sale of a schedule II controlled substance, was granted pre-trial diversion probation under a memorandum of understanding for a period of two years. He must perform 100 hours of community service, make restitution, and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommendations.

34 year old Joseph S. Barnes, charged with sale of a schedule II controlled substance, was granted pre-trial diversion probation for a period of two years. He must perform 100 hours of community service, make restitution, and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow any recommendations

Judge Patterson revoked the probation of Michelle Byars and she must serve the balance of a two year sentence against her. According to the court, she left the area without completing a drug treatment program and her whereabouts are unknown, a violation of the terms of her probation.

Nokes Wins DeKalb Idol Competition

July 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The winner of this year's DeKalb Idol is Jamie Nokes of Smithville

She received the top award at the conclusion of the competition held Saturday night at the DeKalb County Fair.

Others in the top five were:

Second Place- Amber Rowland of Lebanon
Third Place- Elizabeth Koegler of Smithville
Fourth Place- Brandi Norton of Smithville
Fifth Place- Dan McCorkle of Gallatin

United Way of DeKalb County Seeks Support for "Stuff the School Bus"

July 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

United Way of DeKalb County is asking for your help in their "Stuff the School Bus" campaign.

Melissa Wallace of United Way says this school supply drive is designed to help our county's teachers supplement their classroom supplies. "We hope to have volunteers at area businesses during the upcoming tax-free weekend, August 1st & 2nd, to collect supplies. Volunteers will also be available to pick up donations from area businesses from Aug 1-Aug 8.

"Stuff the School Bus" is a school supply drive for DeKalb County. Donations are solicited at area retailers and then distributed to area schools. Local businesses are also encouraged to participate by having in-house school supply drives and being collection points for people who cannot make it to the weekend events.

You can help in many easy ways by volunteering to help with organizing the event; helping with the delivery of donation boxes and pick up of workplace donations; volunteering to collect donations at the bus stops on the weekends; coordinating your business's "Stuff the Bus" school supply drive and or consider being a collection point for the public; and helping get the word out.

For more information and to volunteer, please contact Melissa Wallace of the United Way of DeKalb County at 615-597-1629 or email at unitedway@dtccom.net.

Supplies Needed include:

Filler Paper (Wide Ruled)
Primary Tablets
Pencils
Erasers
Ink Pens (Blue, Black & Red)
Crayons (16 ct. or larger)
Construction Paper
Washable Markers
Colored Pencils
Highlighters
Glue (sticks or bottle)
Scissors
1 or 2 inch 3 Ring Binders
2 Pocket Folders
Nap Mats
Dry Erase Markers and Erasers
Baby Wipes
Paper Towels
Kleenex
Hand Sanitizer
Bleach Wipes

Early Morning Fire Destroys Vacant Mobile Home

July 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

An early morning fire Saturday destroyed a vacant double wide mobile home at 378 Lee Braswell Road

County Fire Chief Donny Green says a passerby spotted the blaze and reported it around 3:00 a.m. Saturday.

He says the fire was well underway by the time it was discovered and firefighters were unable to save the home. However they were able to keep the fire from spreading to two sheds on the property.

Green says it was obvious that no one had been living at the residence because there were no belongings in either the mobile home or the sheds.

Green says the residence was still hooked up to electricity but the cause of the fire is undetermined.

No one was injured.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, and Blue Springs Stations responded along with Tanker # 1, DeKalb EMS, and the Sheriff's Department. No one was injured.

Toddler Show Winners Awarded at DeKalb County Fair

July 25, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Winners of the annual Toddler Show were awarded Friday evening at the DeKalb County Fair.

The winners are as follows:

Girls (13 to 18 months)
Winner- Avery Nicole Agee, daughter of Joey and Casey Agee of Dowelltown
Runner-up- Alexis Grace Stanley, daughter of Ross and Brittany Stanley of Dowelltown

Boys (13 to 18 months)
Winner- Kobe Thomas, son of Bradley and Kari Taylor of Smithville
Runner-up- Jacob Ryan Lawson, son of Tim and Christy Lawson of Smithville

Girls (19 to 24 months)
Winner- Aubrey Felice, daughter of Steven and Kayla Felice of Brush Creek
Runner-up- Annabella Eleni Dakas, daughter of John and Amanda Dakas of Smithville

Boys (19 to 24 months)
Winner- Hunter Bryce Cannon, son of Tracy and Leslie Cannon of Alexandria
Runner-up- Joseph Bristol Redmon, son of Brittney Thomason and Joseph Redmon of Liberty

Girls (25 to 30 months)
Winner- Graceson Boyd, daughter of James and Leslie Boyd of Smithville
Runner-up- Ella Grace Pack, daughter of Andy and Jessica Pack of Smithville

Boys (25 to 30 months)
Winner- Kaden Nathaniel Trapp, son of Melissa Hart and Nathan Trapp of Dowelltown
Runner-up-Tony Bryson Trapp, son of Tony and Amanda Trapp of Smithville

Girls (31 to 36 months)
Caitlyn Knight, daughter of Eddie and Beth Davis of Brush Creek
Runner-up- Tacoma Nicole Maples, daughter of Bruce and Shondrell Maples of Smithville

Boys (31 to 36 months)
Isaac Lee Lawson, son of Tim and Christy Lawson of Smithville
Runner-up- Hasten Cole Waggoner, son of Phillip and Natasha Waggoner of Liberty

Girls (37 to 47 months)
Winner- Emma Grace Johnson, daughter of Jeff and Kelly Johnson of Smithville
Runner-up- Addison Roller, daughter of John and Chana Roller of Smithville

Boys (37 to 47 months)
Winner- Bryson Clay Cripps, son of Bobby and Amanda Cripps of Hickman
Runner-up- Holden Clay Trapp, son of Tony and Amanda Trapp of Smithville

Twins (12 to 47 months)
Winners- Conner and Caitlyn Knight, children of Eddie and Beth Davis of Brush Creek
Runners-up- Darrell and Gabrielle Wobus, children of Margie Drennan of Smithville.

TWRA Issues News Release About Fatal Boating Accident on Center Hill Lake

July 25, 2008

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency is continuing the investigation of a boating accident that occurred on Center Hill Lake, Friday, July 18, which involved two boats and resulted in a fatality and injuries to 3 persons aboard one vessel, and one injury to a person in the second vessel. The incident took place on Center Hill Lake near Edgar Evins State Park Marina. Center Hill Lake is located approximately 60 miles east of Nashville.

The initial investigation indicates that one of the vessels, occupied by four persons including Tamera Coombs, age 44, who was killed in the accident, is registered to Thomas Coombs of Pleasant View, Tennessee. The second vessel, with 3 persons on board, is registered to Stephen Maggart of Brentwood, Tennessee.

TWRA officers were dispatched to the scene of the collision around 9:05 PM and were the first officials to arrive. Mrs. Coombs was apparently ejected from the vessel and was recovered from the water a short time later by TWRA officers. The TWRA impounded both vessels and will hold them until the investigation is completed.

Tony Cross, a TWRA officer who routinely patrols Center Hill Lake, was one of the first officers to arrive at the Coombs’ boat. “Our first priority was to assist the injured parties and to secure the scene so that we could preserve any evidence that would help in re-creating the moments immediately before the collision”, Cross said. “We impounded the boats and began taking statements from those involved and will continue to piece together all the information as the investigation goes forward”, he said.

TWRA Boating Investigator, Glenn Moates said that it will be several weeks before all the information is assimilated. “It takes time to complete all the interviews with victims and witnesses, and we will thoroughly examine both boats” Moates stated. “We have also submitted items to the TBI crime lab for analysis, and the results of those samples will be a significant help in completing our reconstruction of the accident and any factors which may have contributed to its occurrence”, he stated.

TWRA procedure, as well as state law, requires that officers collect blood samples from the operators of both boats to determine if alcohol use was a factor. Procedure also calls for TWRA officers to present all the evidence to the Assistant District Attorney before going forward with any possible criminal charges. “It is standard to examine the blood alcohol levels of the operators, assess whether or not navigation laws were violated, and to examine all physical evidence, including the damage to each vessel”, Moates said.

TWRA boating investigators have received extensive training from a variety of sources including Underwriter’s Laboratories, the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, the International Association of Marine Investigators, and the National Transportation Safety Board.

Anyone with any information regarding the incident is asked to please contact the TWRA. Glenn Moates, Boating Investigator will serve as the Agency contact until the investigation is completed. Investigator Moates can be reached at 615-781-5271 (office), 615-351-6069 (mobile), or by e-mail at glenn.moates@state.tn.us.

DeKalb County Fire Department Gets Equipment Grant

July 25, 2008

Donny Green, DeKalb County Fire Chief, announced Friday that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have awarded a $41,750 Assistance to Firefighters Grant to the DeKalb County Fire Department. Chief Green says that the Federal share is 95 percent or $39,662 and the local share is 5 percent or $2,088.

The award will be used to purchase communications equipment and personal protective equipment for the department’s volunteer firefighters. The grant will help meet the needs of DeKalb County's growing, rural fire department. The Department has eleven stations that are responsible for protecting 305 square miles. The department’s 83 volunteer firefighters respond to an average of 325 fire-related calls per year. DeKalb County Fire Department is one of the few county-wide departments in Tennessee.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed as an opportunity for the United States Congress to work with DHS to enhance basic fire service delivery across the United States.

Chief Green says that his department has been fortunate to receive Federal funding to help purchase the critical tools that allow his volunteers to safely and efficiently protect and serve the citizens of DeKalb County.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Jumps to 6.2% in June

July 25, 2008

DeKalb County's jobless rate for June was 6.2%, up from the rate for May of 5.6% and 4.5% in June, 2007

DeKalb County's Labor Force for June was 10,640. A total of 9,990 were employed and 660 were unemployed.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for June was released last week at 6.5 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the May revised rate of 6.4 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of June was 5.5 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for June 2008 show that all 95 counties increased.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 4.8 percent, up 0.6 from the May rate of 4.2 percent. Perry County had the state's highest at 14.8 percent, up 1.7 from the May rate of 13.1 percent, followed by Lauderdale County at 11.4 percent, up from 10.8 percent in May.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 5.4 percent, up 0.8 from the May rate of 4.6 percent. Davidson County was 5.7 percent, up from 5.0 in May. Hamilton County was at 5.9 percent, up 0.9 from the May rate of 5.0 percent, and Shelby County was 7.4 percent, up from the May rate of 6.3.

Bredesen Announces Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Grants

July 25, 2008

Governor Phil Bredesen and the members of the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Board have announced that five projects protecting more than 4,600 acres have been approved for $2.2 million in grant funding.

One of the projects approved Thursday for grant awards from the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund include:

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, Morris Edward Roller- Jeffory Carl Young Tracts at Short Mountain in Cannon County.

A $154,000 grant will help protect the Roller and Young tracts, which consist of 942 acres seized by the U.S. Marshal's Office during a federal drug investigation in 2006. The defendants were convicted and the tracts subsequently forfeited to the U.S. Department of Justice and available for bargain sale. About half the tracts are contiguous with protected lands at Short Mountain. Two other tracts adjoin TWRA lands at Pea Ridge Wildlife Management Area located on the DeKalb/Cannon County line. Unique habitats include limestone caves, ephemeral wetlands and several rare plants and animals. The tracts are subject to becoming sold to different owners at auction. Kept intact, however, they serve as important areas for wildlife-related recreation and hiking as well as wildlife conservation and water quality protection. Project partners include The Nature Conservancy, Tennessee Parks and Greenways Foundation, Cannon County and Middle Tennessee State University.

"I continue to be very pleased with the work and focus of the Heritage Conservation Trust," said Bredesen. "The Trust Fund Board has leveraged funds carefully and worked with other public and private partners for the conservation and protection of priority land across Tennessee."

Funding for this round of grants comes from allocations and interest earned in the trust fund over the past three budget years. To date, the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund has approved just over $30 million dollars in grants to leverage for a total of $117,609,000 in conservation purchases to protect approximately 42,600 acres of priority land in Tennessee.

The projects approved for grant awards must meet certain criteria before the funds are provided, including property surveys and appraisals, environmental assessments and enactment of mechanisms like conservation easements to guarantee the permanent protection of the properties.

"Greater prioritization for funding is given to projects that involve partnerships, leverage state funds and enhance or connect existing public lands," said Trust Fund Chair Drew Goddard. "This round of grants will help protect more than 4,600 acres with an estimated value of more than $9 million. The participation of the Heritage Conservation Trust fund in these projects provides the maximum benefit to Tennesseans while leveraging available funds."

Eligible projects range from the preservation of tracts for the purposes of tourism and recreation to projects focused on protecting or restoring the state's physical, cultural, archaeological, historical and environmental resources.

The application deadline for the next grant funding cycle will be in early 2009, with grants to be announced in the spring of 2009. Projects demonstrating a level of urgency for threatened lands also may be considered by the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund Board at any time. Pre-application instructions and forms and additional information about the Heritage Conservation Trust Fund are available at http://tn.gov/environment/trustfund/.

Baby Show Winners Announced at DeKalb County Fair

July 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Babies from one day to twelve months old were showcased during the annual Baby Show held Thursday evening at the DeKalb County Fair.

The winners are as follows:

Girls (1 day to 3 months)
Winner- Danica Hope Collier, daughter of Matthew Collier and Brittany George of Alexandria
Runner-up- Kyleigh Brooke Bain, daughter of Latroya Bain of Smithville.

Boys (1 day to 3 months)
Winner- Nathan Izayah Dowell, son of Nathan and Jayme Dowell of Smithville
Runner-up- Conner Bradley Talley, son of Brad and Carrie Talley of Alexandria

Girls (4-6 months)
Winner- Jolene Eve Stover, daughter of Jason and Erica Stover of Lancaster
Runner-up- Isabella Faith Rackley, daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville

Boys (4-6 months)
Winner- Brownie Johnson, son of Bradley and Kristan Johnson of Dowelltown
Runner-up- Camden Lee Mackie, son of Jeff and Tiffany Mackie of Smith County

Girls (7-9 months)
Winner- Cali Beth Agee, daughter of Kevin and Jennifer Agee of Smithville.
Runner-up- Taylor Grace Patterson, daughter of Timmy and Mary Patterson of Smithville

Boys (7-9 months)
Winner- Christopher Corbin Southard, son of Brian and Michelle Southard of Smithville
Runner-up- Preston Lee Miller, son of Billy and Dyanna Miller of Smithville

Girls (10-12 months)
Winner- Annyiah Kensley Hicks, daughter of Wayne and Amanda Hicks and Danielle Staggs of Smithville
Runner-up- Madison Rae Haley, daughter of Brittany Haley and Shelby Anderson of Alexandria

Boys (10-12 months)
Winner- Bobby Cripps III, son of Bobby Cripps, Jr. and Amanda Cripps of Hickman
Runner-up- Austin Reid Rollin, son of T.J. Rollin and Aquilla Rollin of Alexandria.

Twins (1 day to 12 months)- Austin and Lilliana Vickers, children of Brandi and Kevin Vickers of Liberty.

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