Local News Articles

Former Deputy Announces Plans to Run for Sheriff

November 17, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michael Agee and Wife Kelly

A former DeKalb County Sheriff's deputy plans to make a run for the Democratic nomination for Sheriff in the local primary May 6, 2014.

Michael Agee announced his intentions during the DeKalb County Democratic Party's Re-Organization Convention held Saturday at the courthouse.

"My plans are to run for the 2014 election for Sheriff, " Agee told WJLE after the meeting. "I am the son of Hobert and Judy Agee. I have lived in Smithville all my life. I am the husband of Kelly Agee. I have two children, Stetson and Presley Agee." he said.

"I think it's time for some changes. I think our youth are really hurting in leadership of the sheriff's department. This is something I've wanted (to do) for the past couple of years but I just hadn't felt the support I needed. But here lately it feels like everything has fell into place. My wife and family are really supporting me. Most of all it seems that God has really pushed this on me this year. I would really appreciate everyone's support in this," he said.

Agee said he joins this race with a law enforcement background. "I graduated from the Law Enforcement Academy in 2005. I went to work for (former Sheriff) Lloyd Emmons in 2002. I have served at the Smithville City (Police Department). I am currently serving with the Smith County Sheriff's Department as a K-9 Officer," Agee told WJLE.

Local Democrats Select Party Leaders

November 17, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jim Judkins, Myra Johnson Miller, Joyce Hendrixson, Jordan Wilkins

The DeKalb County Democratic Party held a re-organization convention Saturday at the courthouse to elect party leaders for the next two years.

Jim Judkins was returned as Chairman. Jordan Wilkins, Larry Bain, and Kim Ambrose were re-elected Co Vice Chairmen. Joyce Hendrixson remains as Secretary and Myra Johnson Miller is the new Treasurer, replacing Katherine Pack who declined to accept another term, citing a conflict, since she is planning to seek re-election as Circuit Court Clerk.

Members of the DeKalb County Democratic Executive Committee were named for the next two years including Judy Slager from the First District, Frank Buck in the Second District, Faye Fuqua from the Third District, David McDowell in the Fourth District, James Hale from the Fifth District, Flint Gilley in the Sixth District, and Tommy Webb in the Seventh District.

The party also voted to call a Democratic Primary for May 6th, 2014 to nominate candidates for county offices and district judicial positions.

Chairman Judkins gave potential candidates in attendance a chance to announce their intentions for 2014.

Michael Agee announced that he would be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Sheriff. Though he was unable to attend Saturday's meeting, it was announced that Jimmy Sprague plans to seek the office of Road Supervisor. James L "Jimmy" Poss said he would be a candidate for County Clerk. Incumbent Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack and General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge Bratten Cook, II also announced they would be seeking re-election. Although the office is non-partisan, Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss announced that he would be running for another term next year.

Sarah Marie Smith of Smith County said she is considering another run for State Representative of the 40th district next year.

The DeKalb County Democratic Party is expected to hold a Mass Meeting soon where Democrats planning to seek office can make their formal announcements.

School Bus Involved in Minor Accident

November 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
School Bus Involved in Minor Accident
Students being transferred to another bus
Bus receives minor damage

A school bus with twenty students on board was involved a minor traffic accident Friday afternoon on Student's Home Road near Magness Road.

No one was injured.

Central dispatch was notified at 3:38 p.m.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Faye Pollard, driving bus #08-25, was traveling south on Student's Home Road as 45 year old Jose Tierranegra was going north on a John Deere tractor with a nursery tree digger attachment. According to Trooper Johnson the tractor and bus sideswiped on the narrow road as both vehicles were trying to negotiate a curve. Tierranegra works for the BFN Operations nursery company.

The bus was only dented at the point of impact. While the bus was still driveable, students were loaded onto another bus and taken home.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, Transportation Supervisor Jimmy Sprague, and Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder were on the scene along with a sheriff's deputy.

Nine Sentenced in Criminal Court

November 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
David Patterson

Several persons facing drug charges and other offenses appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court Wednesday.

Judge David Patterson presided.

25 year old Brittney Barnes pleaded guilty to one count of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. She received a three year sentence in each case to run consecutively for a total of six years. However the sentence will be suspended to supervised probation after serving 180 days. She was fined $2,000. Barnes is also to pay restitution in theft cases against her. She was given jail credit of 83 days.

Barnes was indicted in a recent undercover drug investigation by the sheriff's department. The indictments allege that on March 7th she sold and delivered Dilaudid and that on March 18 she sold Cocaine within 1,000 feet of a school or public place.

28 year old Michael Snyders pleaded guilty to sale and delivery of a controlled substance. He received a two year sentence, suspended to TDOC probation supervised by community corrections. He was given jail credit of 84 days. The sentence is to run consecutive to a prior case against him.

Snyders was indicted in a recent undercover investigation by the sheriff's department. The indictment alleges that he sold and delivered Dihydrocodeinone on May 10, 2012.

32 year old Halton Wayne Hicks pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and 32 year old Amanda May Hicks pleaded guilty to two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug.

Halton Wayne Hicks received a three year sentence in the Tennessee Department of Corrections to run consecutive to three other cases against him and concurrently with a Warren County case.

Amanda May Hicks got a six year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other to serve at 30%. The term is to also run concurrently with two other cases against her, a violation of probation sentence, and a Warren County case. She was given jail credit of 78 days.

Both were indicted in a recent undercover drug investigation by the sheriff's department. The indictments allege that on March 18th, both Halton and Amanda Hicks sold and delivered Hydromorphone; and that on March 7 Amanda Hicks sold and delivered Dilaudid.

38 year old James S. Leduc pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule IV and II drug for resale. He received a four year sentence in each case to run consecutive for a total of eight years at 30% before his release eligibility date. He was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with a violation of probation against him. Leduc was given jail credit of 155 days.

20 year old James D. Mitchell pleaded guilty to attempted initiation of methamphetamine. He received a six year sentence and fined $2,000. He was granted judicial diversion probation.

45 year old Therese D. Tittle pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a three year sentence, all suspended to probation. She was fined $2,000.

49 year old Aubrey L. Kilgore pleaded guilty by information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to unsupervised probation except for six days to serve on consecutive weekends. He received a fine of $365 and a $50 statutory fine.

53 year old Tracy Veach pleaded guilty to a third offense of driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, suspended to 120 days to serve. He will lose his driving privileges for six years and be fined $1,100.

Mallory Sullivan Signs to Play Golf at Belmont University

November 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan with parents James and Tonya Sullivan
Mallory Sullivan Signs to Play Golf at Belmont University

Outstanding DCHS Senior Golfer Mallory Sullivan has signed with Belmont University to play golf next season.

Mallory's parents, James and Tonya Sullivan appeared with her during the signing at DCHS Thursday evening.

Sullivan said she is looking forward to playing golf at Belmont, where her sister Shay signed to play after her high school career. "It's a great school. I'm going into business and I love the golf team. My sister (Shay) is already there. It just felt like a perfect fit for me".

Mallory finished tied for fifth at the Class A/AA state golf tournament held recently at the Willowbrook Golf Club.

Sullivan, the only female from DCHS to compete in the state golf tournament all four years, carded a 3-over 75 to tie for a fifth place finish at 82-75—157, just a stroke away from a medal. She had the second lowest score on the second day of the tournament.

Mallory placed 11th in the state tournament as a freshman, second as a sophomore and tied for 14th as a junior.

"It's been a blessing for me to coach an athlete of that caliber," said DCHS Golf Coach Joe Pat Cope. "Her work ethic is so good. She is going to be a success at the college level because every day, if she is not playing, she is hitting balls, chipping, or working on her putting and that's what it takes. She is willing to put in three or four hours every day and it shows in her game," said Coach Cope.

"Mallory has worked really hard and we're very excited that she has the opportunity to attend Belmont and get a great education and to continue to play the game she loves," said Tonya Sullivan, Mallory's mother.

Mallory's father, James Sullivan said she began playing golf at a young age. "She started when she was in sixth grade. At first she didn't want to follow in her sister's footsteps but she saw what Shay was able to do and was very excited about that and decided to pick this up," he said.

"We're very excited and appreciate all the support shown Mallory from the school system and the community," said Tonya Sullivan.

Sullivan's head coach at Belmont will be Lissa Bradford.

Farm Service Agency County Committee Election Ballot Misprint

November 14, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

Donny Green, County Executive Director of the DeKalb/Cannon County Farm Service Agency (FSA), says that a printing/mailing contractor, hired to print and mail ballots nationwide for the Farm Service Agency, erroneously formatted the 2013 Farm Service Agency County Committee Election Ballots that were mailed out last week. As a result, the following notice was issued by the Farm Service Agency National Office:

“Recently you should have received a ballot for FSA County Committee election. As you may have noticed, your ballot was incorrectly printed with your name and address shown on the back of the actual ballot. This was a misprint, and these ballots cannot be used. Please destroy or recycle the ballot dated 07-03-13. If you have already voted, your ballot will be destroyed unopened. You will be receiving a new one by mid-December with a corrected election date. Please watch your mail for the new ballot and vote for the COC candidate of your choice. We apologize for the inconvenience.”
Green wants all of DeKalb and Cannon counties eligible voters to be aware of this printing mistake and that they should not purchase postage or travel to the county office to return these invalid ballots that were erroneously printed by the private contractor. “We want our eligible voters to have confidence in our County Committee Election process that has been the model of integrity allowing local farmers and ranchers to have a voice in local FSA program delivery and office administration. FSA’s County Committee is uniquely designed to allow farmers and ranchers to elect their peers who make decisions at the grassroots level,” says Green.

The DeKalb and Cannon County FSA Committees want to encourage voters in the Local Administrative Areas (LAA’s) up for election this year to be watching for the corrected ballots that will be mailed out by mid-December. It is vitally important that voters take the time to vote when these corrected ballots are received. As the Farm Service Agency gets more information on this matter and the corrective actions, additional news releases will be publicized.

Mr. and Miss Motlow named for McMinnville Center

November 14, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mr. and Miss Motlow

The Motlow College McMinnville Center recently named Mr. and Miss Motlow for the 2013-14 academic year.

Miss Motlow is Katie Haggard, an elementary education major from Smithville.

Mr. Motlow is J.T. Morgan from McMinnville, who is majoring in history.

Mr. and Miss Motlow are chosen for each of Motlow’s four campuses, with those selected representing the college at social and educational functions throughout the academic year.

Foster Children Need Your Help for Christmas

November 14, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Annette Greek

The Treasurer for the DeKalb Foster Children's Fund is making an urgent plea for help during the holidays.

"We're needing to get money for their Christmas gifts," said Annette Greek.

Some nine thousand dollars is needed to serve the sixty children in foster care this Christmas and only two thousand dollars has been collected. "We've got sixty kids right now that have been removed from our county. DeKalb County is responsible for their Christmas needs. The state does not pay for this. We try to collect money each year for this project. I have collected not hardly two thousand dollars yet and it's going to take nine thousand dollars to do the one hundred and fifty dollars per child that we have been trying to do the last few years," said Greek.

"If anybody has it in their heart to help with this, please bring your donation to me at F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts. I can take five dollars or whatever amount but if you can give five hundred or a thousand dollars that would be great. It takes all of us to make this happen for these children. There's always a possibility we may have even more foster kids in December. It can happen," said Greek.

The sooner you can make your donation, the better. "I try to have this done by the first week in December so I can get the money to the foster parents or to the children so they can do their shopping before Christmas. We send cash instead of gifts because the children are in so many different locations. If it's not the right gift, it could be hard to exchange it so it's easier to do cash," she said.

You may send your donation to: Annette Greek, in care of F.Z. Webb & Sons Gifts, 400 West Public Square, Smithville TN 37166. For more information call 615-597-4186.

Three Sentenced in Burglary and Theft Cases

November 13, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Clayton Green
Rachel Green
Shelly Renae Newby

Two people charged in a March burglary and theft in Alexandria were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Wednesday.

Judge David Patterson presided.

30 year old Clayton Green pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary and received a sentence of five years to serve at 30% before his release eligibility date. He was given jail credit from March 1, 2013 to June 16, 2013.

29 year old Rachel Green received a four year sentence after pleading guilty to aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. She got four years for the burglary and two years in the theft case. The sentences are to run concurrently as one four year term to serve at 30%. She was given 256 days of jail credit. The terms will also run concurrently to charges against her in Smith, Wilson, and Franklin counties. She must make restitution.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE that after receiving information of a planned break-in at a residence on Lower Helton Road in Alexandria, his department conducted an undercover investigation, placing the home under surveillance. One of detectives saw Clayton and Rachel Green enter the house. When they came out, the two were detained for questioning. They were subsequently arrested.

According to Sheriff Ray, both Clayton and Rachel Green allegedly entered the residence through a garage door. The two allegedly took a camera, bag of assorted change, knife collection, 38 special Rossie revolver, a 22 Heritage pistol, a chain saw, nail guns, jig saw, 410 shotgun, a 12 gauge bolt action shotgun, several items of gold jewelry, and other things, all valued at over $1,000. Rachel also allegedly entered a pickup truck on the property and took a 22 caliber pistol valued at under $500. While under investigation for the burglary, Clayton Green, a convicted felon, was found to be in reach of two loaded handguns, a 38 and a 22 caliber. He told the officers that he was a convicted felon and was not allowed to have guns.

21 year old Shelly Renae Newby pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of property over $1,000. She received a two year sentence suspended to supervised probation in each case to run concurrently with each other and with sentences against her in Rutherford and Wilson counties.

Sheriff Ray told WJLE that on Saturday, January 19 Newby and a co-defendant, 29 year old Brandon Lynn Tallent allegedly took three tractor trailer starters and a cast iron intake from property on the Old Snow Hill Road. The items are valued at more than $1,000. Newby admitted to an officer that she and Tallent had taken items from this property on several occasions.

The next day on Sunday, January 20, Newby and Tallent allegedly took two trailers and small gasoline engines from the same property on the Old Snow Hill Road. These items are valued at more than $1,000. Newby admitted to an officer that she and Tallent had taken these items.

Meanwhile on Friday, January 25, Newby and Tallent went back to the same location and allegedly took val covers, a gas tank, an intake, and struts. These items are valued at less than $500. They were found in the back of Tallent's vehicle after an officer pulled him over on a traffic stop. Newby admitted to the officer that she and Tallent had taken these items.

Tallent pleaded guilty by information in June to two counts of theft over $1,000 and received a four year sentence in each case to run concurrently with each other all suspended to supervised probation. He was ordered to make restitution to the victim.

Meth Lab Seizures Up in DeKalb County

November 13, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
Meth Lab
Meth Lab Seizures Up in DeKalb County

Methamphetamine is a problem in DeKalb County and local law enforcement officers have been busy trying to put those who make meth out of business and behind bars.

Statistics released Monday by Sheriff Patrick Ray reveal that in DeKalb County the number of meth lab seizures is up compared to last year. "For the reporting year September 2011 to September 2012, DeKalb County law enforcement reported eight meth labs that were seized. From September 2012 to September 2013, there were fifteen reported meth labs, an increase of 87.5%," said Sheriff Ray. "These are traced by the Tennessee Methamphetamine and Pharmaceutical Task Force. We send all of our reports in to the Task Force who keeps up with the statistics," he said.

Statistics show that the meth problem is not just in DeKalb County. Others have also found more meth labs this past year. "Cannon County reported having eight more meth labs. DeKalb had seven more than the previous year. Smith County had six more. Wilson County had eight more and Putnam County had sixteen more," said Sheriff Ray. "Putnam is one of the top five counties in the state and second highest in meth lab seizures for the year. Putnam had a total of 52 meth lab seizures reported this last year," he said.

"Out of those 15 DeKalb County meth labs seized in 2012-2013, the Tennessee Highway Patrol reported getting one meth lab out of a vehicle. The Smithville Police Department reported two meth labs. One was at a trash or dump site. One was out of a vehicle. The sheriff's department had twelve meth labs. Six of those were out of a dwelling. Three of them were out of a car. Three of them were at trash or dump sites. Out of the six meth labs found in a home, officers quarantined those dwellings. They put stickers on the front doors and back doors and filed with the meth task force that the residences had been quarantined," said Sheriff Ray.

Once a home is quarantined, no one is allowed to enter other than authorized personnel, until that home is free of toxic hazards. "The owner of the property is required to have a hygienist come in and check to see if meth shows up there. It can be in the carpet or it might be on the walls and or ceilings. It's just an examination to see if meth has ever been produced there in the home. The hygienist will come in and draw samples. It's very expensive for a hygienist to do that. The samples they pull are very expensive. They will send off those samples to a lab which will then report back with the results on whether any methamphetamine has been cooked there. If so, the property is set up on a tier system. The lowest tier involves a cleanup, maybe washing the walls down or painting, etc. . If the home is on the high tier, it may have to be completely gutted. That could mean all the carpets, baseboards, walls, insulation, and ceiling would have to be replaced with new material. It's very expensive and it's all the land owner's responsibility," said Sheriff Ray.

Civil penalties may be assessed to renters who caused the damage but landowners would have to take them to court. "If the landowner is renting to somebody and this happens, they can sue the person for all the expense they are out to get the quarantine took off the home," said Sheriff Ray.

If the landowner chooses to do nothing with the home under quarantine, the dwelling can't be used for any purpose until its cleaned up. "Under that quarantine no one can enter the home, regardless of what it has in there. They can't go in and get clothes or anything else like that. The only ones who are certified to go in are the hygienist who draws the samples, the contractors that go in and do the work, and anyone who has had the training in meth labs, but they all have to wear the protective clothing to go back in there to do whatever they need," he said.

Once a meth lab is found, Sheriff Ray said reports must be completed and sent in to the Meth Task Force. "When we finish with a meth lab we're required to fill out and send in paper work. There are usually three categories on the report to note where we found the meth lab. One is in a dwelling, whether it be a family dwelling, apartment etc. One is in a vehicle. If we find a meth lab in a vehicle in what we call a rolling meth lab, we will check that box on the report. The other one is a trash site or a dump site. That's where the meth maker has finished up a cook and they have a lot of waste that is left over from that. They will pitch it beside of the road or maybe sneak up into a wooded area and dump it out of the back of their vehicle so as not to get caught. They don't want anybody to see them doing it so they will sometimes try to hide it in a wooded area," he said.

Pseudoephrine is a key ingredient in making meth and new laws have been passed in recent years placing limits on the sale of some over the counter cold and allergy medicines. "If you buy pseudoephedrine or any kind of cold medicine that has pseudoephedrine in it, you can only buy so much at a time. That's why you have to show them your driver's license and sign for it," said Sheriff Ray. "Any individual is only allowed 3.6 grams of pseudoephedrine per day and not to exceed nine grams per month. There is a restriction on how much you can buy per day and per month. From September 2012 to September 2013, a total of 159 people were blocked which means they tried to buy more than 3.6 grams a day or more than nine grams per month. Of course not all of them were cooking meth," said Sheriff Ray. "Some may have tried to buy it too quickly and the system rejected them where they couldn't buy it. There were 659 who either made or attempted to make purchases of pseudoephedrine and there were 3,383 purchases of pseudoephedrine for DeKalb County from September 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013.," he said.

If you suspect someone of making meth or committing any other crime in your community, Sheriff Ray urges you to call the crime tip line to report it. "I want to encourage the public to take advantage of our crime tip line to call in tips. It is 464- 6400. You may call and remain anonymous or call the Sheriff's Department. The number is 597-4935. You may call and talk to me about crime going on in your community. We try our best to check every tip that we get. We want you to call those in. We appreciate you being our eyes and ears out in your communities. We ask you to keep calling in tips to us," Sheriff Ray concluded.

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