Local News Articles

Final Approval Expected for FEMA Grant to Fund Tornado Safe Rooms at DeKalb West School

April 13, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby

The school system is one step closer to final approval of a FEMA grant to fund a classroom addition at DeKalb West School, including eight tornado "safe rooms"

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby announced Thursday night during the school board meeting that the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has approved grant funds of more than $1.5 million for the project, pending final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Willoughby said he learned of TEMA's approval in a letter to him from David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet. "The application has been approved for more than $1.5 million dollars. They are working on review comments from TEMA and will send the revised application to them tomorrow (Friday). The approval letter from TEMA should come right after we submit the application. The application then goes to FEMA in Atlanta for final approval. It will take several months for the money to become available. After final approval one of the next steps is that we're going to have a contract to hire Kaatz, Binkley who has done this work and Lashlee-Rich and once we get the hard numbers we will have to vote to do this (project) and see if we can include the kitchen and cafeteria (renovation/expansion) at the west school (using local funds). We're going to need to do that (cafeteria/kitchen work) sooner or later but doing that at this time would be much cheaper than leaving it and then coming back (to do the cafeteria/kitchen work later). You'd have all the equipment there and could do everything at one time a lot cheaper than you could rebid and everything," said Willoughby.

The design for a proposed 15,000 square foot addition to DeKalb West School was unveiled in February during a school board workshop meeting. A $1.8 million FEMA grant application was filed on behalf of the school system, which is to fund most of the project with the rest, about $600,000 to be paid for locally.

The new construction is designed to be built in the front of the existing school.

David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet updated Director of Schools Willloughby and members of the Board of Education on the project during that February workshop. Brown said the plan includes eight "safe rooms"to relieve overcrowding and to shelter students, school staff, and the general public in times of severe weather.

Twenty three million dollars is available to eligible applicants under the FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant program. During a special called meeting in December, the Board of Education voted to pay KBJM Architects, Inc. a total of $7,500 to prepare a design for the project and to pay Lashlee-Rich, Inc. of Humbolt $7,500 to prepare cost estimates and for the grant writing.

Under this FEMA grant program, the federal government pays 75% of the cost, if approved. The state pays 12.5% leaving the local share at 12.5%. Any further costs related to construction not covered by the FEMA grant, including furnishing classrooms, would be funded locally. "We are proposing the addition in the front of the school," said Brown. We have eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area all in that corridor. A janitors closet would be in the room where the generator will go. That is the addition we are proposing to meet these federal standards," said Brown.

According to Brown, the proposed new addition would not only provide more classroom space and better shelter in the event of storms, but it would make the school more secure. "We're designing this for (to withstand) a 250 mile per hour wind with debris and projectiles going that fast. So all of that construction is going to be beefed up to meet those standards. Obviously constructing a building that way is much more expensive than just your run of the mill construction. That's why the grant is there. There's no way anybody could afford to do this just on their own initiative. The grant is crucial to this," said Brown.

Once approved for the grant, Brown said the school system has up to three years to spend the funds.

Although a new larger DWS cafeteria and kitchen does not qualify under the FEMA grant as school officials had hoped, the architects have included in the design an expansion of the existing dining area. "I'm showing about a 30% increase in the cafeteria space. This will increase the core of this campus up to about 600 students," said Brown.

DeKalb West School, which opened in 1974, was built for 320 students. The current enrollment is 445 plus faculty and staff. To relieve overcrowding, a portable with two classrooms is currently located on the campus. In times of storms, officials say the general public would be welcome to take shelter with students and school staff in the safe rooms, which could accommodate up to one thousand individuals.

School Board Honors Teachers and Support Staff

April 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Board of Education Thursday night adopted resolutions of appreciation paying tribute to teachers and support staff.

The resolution on teachers states that "Whereas, teachers spend countless hours of their time and energy preparing materials, grading papers and projects, studying about issues in education, consulting with administration, parents, students, and fellow educators; and

Whereas, teachers nurture students and encourage them to be excited about learning so they can enhance their lives and become good citizens; and

Whereas, teachers create a safe and inviting place for the students to grow and learn while participating in daily activities; and

Whereas, great teachers transfer their passion for learning onto their students; and

Whereas, effective teachers give positive and constructive advice, praise accomplishments, and adjust their teaching styles as needed to meet the individual needs of students.

Now, therefore, be it resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education recognizes the numerous contributions that our teachers make each day by establishing May 8, 2012 as Teacher Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the board expresses appreciation and thanks to teachers in our school system and encourages each school and community to recognize them on this day for their contribution to the success of our school system and its students."

The resolution on Support Staff states that " Whereas, the administrative and instructional support staff in the DeKalb County School System are dependable and responsible members of our system, and should feel valued and appreciated. Our teachers and administrators depend upon the support staff members to prepare learning materials, operate the office, and carry out business functions of the school. They are responsible for tutoring, counseling, advising, and guiding students throughout the school year; and

Whereas, the administrative and instructional support staff are an outstanding group of dedicated school employees who are valuable to the success of our school system; and

Whereas, our support staff is made up of individuals who have shown a commitment to our schools and the students they serve; and

Whereas, our administrative and instructional support staff bring into our schools a pleasant personality, willingness to help others, a calm demeanor and common sense; and

Now, therefore be it resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby establishes April 19, 2012 as Administrative and Instructional Support Staff Appreciation Day; and

Be it further resolved that the board expresses appreciation and thanks to all the administrative and instructional support staff in our school system and encourages each school to recognize and join in the celebration of these individuals on that day for the role they place in the success of our school system."

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby gave his monthly update on personnel to the board.

Rebecca Baugh and Judy Redmon, both teachers at Northside Elementary School have retired.

Those granted a leave of absence are Tanya Howard, teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Kenneth Wayne Taylor, custodian at Smithville Elementary School; and Billy Golden, maintenance worker.

Those employed since the last meeting are Fred Searcy, part-time grounds keeper; Jason Myers, substitute bus driver; Ashby Cripps, substitute school nurse; Marcie Taylor, Robbie Joan Frazier, Rena Willoughby, Vickey Vickers, Glenda Hall, Holley Reffue, and Christina Dawson as substitute teachers.

The board gave permission for the Junior and Senior Classes to have the prom off campus at the Embassy Convention Center in Murfreesboro on April 27. The prom begins at 8:00 p.m. and ends at 11:30 p.m.

Permission was granted for the DCHS Boys Basketball Team to stay overnight at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga campus for summer basketball camp. The camp will be from June 11-13. Basketball players, managers, and coaches will be attending.

The DeKalb County Lady Tiger Basketball Team was granted permission to go on an overnight trip to Maryville College to play nine games at a summer camp for high school teams. The camp dates are June 11 & 12.

The DCHS Tigers and Lady Tigers Basketball Teams were granted permission to host a team camp June 6-8. The camp will be held at DCHS and DeKalb Middle School.

Members of the Health Occupations Students of America Club were given permission to attend the HOSA State Conference in Nashville April 16-18 at the Opryland Hotel. Eight students will be competing.

The DCHS Boys Soccer Team was given permission to add Justin Nokes as a volunteer assistant coach.

Permission was given for the DCHS Basketball teams to compete in a Holiday Basketball Tournament at Windemere Prep in Orlando, Florida December 27-29.

Man Dies After Falling off a Bluff on his Farm

April 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 60 year old man died Thursday afternoon after he fell some twenty feet off a bluff at his farm on the Johnson Town Road/Ferrell Road near the Cannon County line.

Dead is Myron Dale Tidwell

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Tidwell and a woman were marking boundary lines on the farm, when Tidwell slipped off a steep bluff, falling some twenty feet. He landed in a creek bed, suffering a head injury.

Central dispatch received the call at 12:58 p.m.

Members of the Sheriff's Departments, EMS, and Rescue Squads from both DeKalb and Cannon County responded along with first responders and DeKalb Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Coordinator Charlie Parker. An Air Evac ambulance landed at the Short Mountain Elementary School and staff aboard the helicopter came to the scene to assist. EMS and rescue workers placed Tidwell in a stokes basket and used ropes to help them climb back up the steep terrain with Tidwell to the top of the hill.

Tidwell was taken by ground ambulance to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

A resident of Chattanooga, Tidwell reportedly had only recently purchased the farm.

Reps. Pody and Weaver Vote To Repeal Death Tax, Cut Food Tax

April 12, 2012
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
State Representative Mark Pody

The pocketbooks of all Tennesseans are getting help from the Legislature with the passage of two major tax cuts.

The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved the repeal of the death tax and the reduction of the food tax on two separate votes. Both bills have long been a major priority for many Members of the House Republican Caucus who believe the bills will help taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money and place Tennessee on better economic footing.

“This is a landmark moment for Tennesseans,” stated House Speaker Beth Harwell (R—Nashville). “We believe, when government revenues are higher, that money doesn’t belong to the State but to taxpayers and should be returned to them immediately. Our Republican Majority was placed here to balance the budget, cut wasteful spending, and lower taxes. Today we carried through on that promise.”

House Bill 3760, the death tax repeal, phases out the death tax over the next four years, to a complete repeal by 2016. House Bill 3761, the food tax cut, lowers the sales tax rate on food from the current 5.5% to 5.25%, the steepest reduction in years.

Representative Linda Elam (R—Mount Juliet) stated, “I am proud to help pass these tax cuts. The Governor asked to work with us on lowering the food tax and this is the product of that hard work. The repeal of the death tax will help our job creators and the food tax cut will benefit every Tennessean.”

“I know how much the death tax hurts our family farms,” added Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R—Lancaster). “The repeal of the death tax will benefit those of us who are committed to protecting the unique farming heritage of Tennessee. Additionally, the food tax cut is a move consistent with my principles to reduce wasteful government spending and return that money to the people.”

“Today is an exciting day. We looked at the numbers, rolled our sleeves up, and worked with Governor Haslam to come up with two bills that will really benefit all Tennesseans. The repeal of the death tax is especially noteworthy because it will help convince the job creators in our State to remain here and help grow our economy. This doesn’t benefit one group; it benefits any Tennessean who is concerned about job growth,” concluded Representative Mark Pody (R—Lebanon).

The bills are now sent to the Senate for action which is expected to come in the next week.

DeKalb Countians Urged to Support the Make-A-Wish Foundation

April 12, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Beth Torres

DeKalb Countians are urged to join in helping make dreams come true for children with life threatening illnesses.

Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has given hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The Foundation's mission reflects the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities.

Beth Torres, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish for Middle Tennessee, told WJLE Wednesday that the foundation is looking to serve families here in DeKalb County. "The Make-A--Wish Foundation offers wishes to children who are facing life threatening illness between the ages of two and a half to eighteen. We know there are kids here (in DeKalb County) who are facing a life threatening illness and we want to make sure they get their wish. In order to make that happen we need to know the kids are here and then find volunteers who are willing to help make that happen," said Torres.

"We are looking at kids who are facing a life threatening illness. It will, for most of them, be temporary. They'll go through chemo, radiation, and some extended treatment. Most of our children survive. But we want every child who has to face this illness and their families to know that we're here for them," said Torres.

According to Torres, the Make-A- Wish Foundation began thirty two years ago. "In 1980 there was a child in Arizona named Chris, and his lifelong dream was to be a police officer. When he got sick a group of local community people got together and said they were going to make this happen for him. They got him out, got him a little uniform, put him in a police car, and he got to spend the day being a police officer. What we found was that when he was back in the hospital getting his treatment, it was that experience that gave him hope, strength, and joy. We're looking for the child's heartfelt wish and as long as its something we can make happen, we will make it happen. Some of our kids want to go on shopping sprees, so we make that happen. Going to Disney is a huge Make-A-Wish project. Kids love to go to Disney. We've got kids who want to travel or meet celebrities or attend events. We make all of those happen. We want them (parents) to know we're here for their kids and we want to know if there are kids out here with a life threatening illness that we can help, " said Torres.

"We'll take referrals for any child ages two and a half to eighteen. We don't care what their race, religion, or income is. We're here for all the kids," she said.

"All of our support comes from Middle Tennessee," said Torres. We work in thirty eight counties. The money comes from those counties and stays in those counties. We look for corporations who want to sponsor a wish as well as individuals and foundations. It doesn't matter how big or small a donation is, it makes a huge difference in a child's life," she said.

The easiest way to find out more about Make-A Wish is to visit the foundation's website www.middletennessee.wish.org. "All of the referral papers are on there along with all of our contact information at the office. You're certainly welcome to contact us and ask any questions. DeKalb County is part of the responsibility of Middle Tennessee's Chapter, which is the chapter that I work for and we serve all of the thirty eight counties in the middle of the state. We're definitely looking for local contacts, people who are passionate about working with kids. So that's what we're here to do. Hospital (referrals) are probably the easiest for us. We have social workers and doctors who will refer children but we also work through private organizations and individual families who refer their children," said Torres.

DCHS Graduation Set for May 18

April 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Adam James
Heather Vidal
Victoria Tatrow

A total of 177 students make up the Class of 2012 at DeKalb County High School and the seniors will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 18th at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.

CLICK THE FOLLOWING LINK TO VIEW A PHOTO GALLERY OF ALL AVAILABLE PHOTOS OF THE CLASS OF 2012 AT DCHS
http://www.wjle.com/image-gallery/dchs-class-2012

The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian, Adam James and Class President Victoria Tatrow.

The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented by DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The DCHS Chorus will perform.

Meanwhile the DCHS Senior Awards Day program will be Thursday, May 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the gym. Scholarship awards will be presented.

During the graduation exercises, the honor students will be recognized including the 2012 Valedictorian Adam James and the Salutatorian Heather Vidal.

Students among the top twenty five senior academic ranking from numbers one to twenty five are as follows:
Adam James, Heather Vidal, Whitney England, Laura Martinez, Briana Vidal, Hailey Perry, Heather Hughes, Jessica Garrison, Jonathan Edwards, Erin Colwell, Jessica Ball, Alex Meadows, Victoria Tatrow, Riley Young, Lela Ambrose, Katie Merriman, Laura Pafford, Abigail Hendrix, Allison Little, Mason Merriman, Talisa Cantrell, Elizabeth Sanders, Brooke Hutchings, Sydney Robinson, and Joseph Angaran

Students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 are:
Adam James, Valedictorian 4.0; Heather Vidal, Salutatorian 4.0, Jessica D. Ball 4.0, Erin L. Colwell 4.0, Jonathan D. Edwards 4.0, Whitney N. England 4.0, Jessica B. Garrison 4.0, Heather M. Hughes 4.0, Laura E. Martinez 4.0, Hailey D. Perry 4.0, Victoria D. Tatrow 4.0, Briana Vidal 4.0, Christopher R. Young 4.0, Lela E. Ambrose, Joseph L. Angaran, Talisa M. Cantrell, Taylor M. Cantrell, Morgan S. Garrett, Abigail Hendrix, Nicholaus T. Henry, Morgan B. Hutchings, Allison Little, Alexandria Meadows, Katie L. Merriman, Mason B. Merriman, Jacob A. Odom, Laura S. Pafford, Sydney Robinson, Elizabeth Sanders, Krystal T. White, and Austin T. Willmore

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Chelsea L. Cantrell, Megan L. Cantrell, Yesenia L Cintron, Alicia D. Crook, Jamie Florence, James D. Freeney, Tiffini Hendrixson, Johnna G. Hensley, Sarah L. Jones, David S. Phillips, Kidman D. Puckett, Lindsay B. Snyder, Erik Z. Thompson, and Alyssa A. Young.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Christian J. Atnip, Michael W. Caldwell, Tiffany D. Cantrell, Tiffany A. Celestino, Emily B Dawson, Jasmine M. Dimas, Katy J. England, John B. Foster, Quinton R. Harbaugh, Allyson R. Judkins, Danielle L. Knowles, Mary F. Knowles, Monserrat Leon, Xing (Tammy) Q. Li, Renny A. Mason, Preston S. Melton, Lorrie M. Merriman, Kalli A. Mitchell, Samanvi R. Munagala, Tevin M. Owens, Bradley C. Pack, Stephanie C. Rackley, Johnna R. Roller, Kayla D. Self, Laura A. Sullivan, and Ashlee M. Whitehead

Members of the DCHS Class of 2012 are as follows:

Alexander J. Ader, William A. Ader, Lela Ambrose, Joseph Angaran, Jordan Arnold, Christian Atnip, Andrew Atnip, Justin Avera

Terry Bain, Jessica Ball, Thomas Beltz, Macie Bouldin, Micheal Braswell, Dustin Brown, Jennifer Butler,

Michael Caldwell, Chelsea Cantrell, Megan Cantrell, Talisa Cantrell, Taylor Cantrell, Tiffany Cantrell, Austin Carlson, Juan Carrillo, Tiffany Celestino, Yesenia Cintron, Erin Colwell, Jakob Craven, Alex Cripps, Jackson Cripps, Alicia Crook, Chelsea Crutcher, Adam Cubbins,

Tanner Davis, Emily Dawson, Jasmine Dimas, Rebecca Duffield,

Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Elliott, Katy England, Whitney England, Gage Estes,

Jeremie Ferdelman, Zacharias Ferrell, Jamie Florence, Brady Foster, Dylan Freeney, Caleb Furnival,

Benjamin Gard, Sloane Garrett, Jessica Garrison, Jordan Gash, Zachary Goldstein, Katelyn Goodwin, Clayton Gott, Joseph Gray, Hannah Green, Lucas Griffin, Jonathan Griffin,

Steven Haas, Kara Hackett, Quintin Harbaugh, Todd Hasty, John Hayes, Abigail Hendrix, Tiffini Hendrixson, Nicholaus Henry, Johnna Hensley, Taylor Hensley, Jessie Herman, Savannah Hershman, Heather Hughes, Hunter Humphrey, Brooke Hutchings,

Adam James, Jessie James, Kaitlin Jennings, Matthew Johnson, Garrett Johnson, Ian Johnson, Kenneth Johnson, Sarah Jones, Heather Jones, Stephanie Jones, Allyson Judkins

Alexander Keith, Clay Kilgore, Danielle Knowles, Mary Knowles, Tabitha Knowles,

Jeremy Landsem, Steven Lawrence, Amanda Laxton, Monserrat Leon, Tammy Li, Allison Little, Aurora Little, Sarah Lomas, Erika Lucio,

Zachery Malone, Laura Martinez, Renny Mason, Wesley Mason, Andrew McCoy, Cheyenne McDaniel, Alexandria Meadows, Preston Melton, Corey Merriman, Katie Merriman, Lorrie Merriman, Mason Merriman, Kalli Mitchell, Terry Mollinet, Justin Moore, Samanvi Munagala, Alex Murphy,

Raul Narvaez, Teddy Nelson, Dustin Netherton,

Jacob Odom, Tevin Owens,

Bradley Pack, Christopher Pack, Laura Pafford, Tiffany Pease, Ashley Pedigo, Hailey Perry, David Perry, Trey Petty, Sebastian Phillips, Westly Poss, Christopher Powell, Kayla Presley, Kidman Puckett,

Stephanie Rackley, Brenda Ramirez, Dylan Reagan, Deshon Reeder, Blake Reffue, Cora Beth Rhody, Louis Richards, Collene Riley, Martin Riley, Gabrielle Ritchie, Yazmin Rivera, Sydney Robinson, Johnna Roller, Makenzie Roller,

Elizabeth Sanders, Kayla Self, Justin Skinner, Brooke Snyder, William Sowell, Corey Spare, Daniel Stanley, Mark Stanley, Russell Storey, Laura Sullivan,

Billy Tate, Victoria Tatrow, Ashley Taylor, Zachary Taylor, Destiny Thomas, Zachary Thompson, Billy Tiner,

Nicholas Underhill, Jonathan Upton,

Gabriella Vanatta, Briana Vidal, Heather Vidal,

Brian Waggoner, Tia Ward, Krystal White, Ashlee Whitehead, Jacob Williams, Breanna Williams, Austin Willmore,

Alyssa Young and Riley Young.

DCHS Conducts Annual Lock Down Exercise

April 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School conducted its annual lock down exercise Tuesday morning.

Principal Kathy Hendrix said the school is required to have the drill at least once a year to practice what to do in the event of an intruder in the building. Local and area law enforcement officials are also usually called upon during the drill to bring their drug dogs to do a pass through around the lockers and in the parking lot. "We are required to do a lock down so usually when we decide to do the lock down we have the drug dogs come out. Just like fire drills and tornado drills, we have to practice a lock down for if there were an intruder in the building. During the drill, all students are to remain in classrooms. The doors to the classrooms are locked and no one is allowed out of the classrooms unless we come for them with a pass code. That's when we usually have the drug dogs to come out and go through the parking lot and around the locker area (inside the school)," said Hendrix.

"We do this every year," she said. " This is just a way of securing the campus. We do it as a deterrent to students bringing drugs to school. That is the reason we do it. We did have them go through the parking lot. One of our staff members went with each of the people (officers) going through. I went through the locker area with them. I was with them all during that time. The students were locked in the classrooms. They (students) were not around the dogs. It was secure," said Hendrix.

Members of the Smithville Police Department along with White County, Cannon County, and Putnam County law enforcement agencies were at the school with their K-9 units (drug dogs) for this unannounced visit, but according to Principal Hendrix, no illegal substances were found . "There was nothing unusual. Everything turned out great and we got it finished in one block. So I thought everything went well," said Principal Hendrix.

Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Pageants Set for Saturday

April 10, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Reigning Junior Miss Kelsey Sueanna Hedge
2011 Little Mister Trevor Matthew Kirby
2011 Little Miss Addison Puckett

The annual Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Pageants will be held Saturday, April 14, beginning at 4 p.m. at DCHS gymnasium. The Little Miss & Mister will feature children between the ages of four and six and the Spring Blossom will include young ladies in grades six through eight.

Fourteen year old Kelsey Sueanna Hedge of Smithville, daughter of David and Trina Hedge, is the reigning Junior Miss.

The retiring Little Mister and Miss are six year old Trevor Matthew Kirby, son of Cindy and Clent Shehane and seven year old Addison Jean Puckett, daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett.

The pageants are sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

This year's event will feature eight contestants in the Little Mister, twenty six in the Little Miss and eighteen in the Spring Blossom.

Practice for Little Mister and Little Miss this Friday, April 13th, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the DCHS Gymnasium. Spring Blossom rehearsal is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, doors will open at 2:30 p.m.. Little Miss and Little Mister contestants must be present by 3:30 p.m.. Pageant starts at 4:00 p.m.

Spring Blossom will be immediately following. Contestants must be present by 5:30 p.m.

Admission will be $4.00 and kids under age three and contestants will be admitted free.

Concessions will be available.

Studio Six Photography will be doing photos.

For more information details please call 464-7910.

Another Arrest Made in Recent Burglary

April 9, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Johnna Michelle Maynard
Lucille Killian Wright
Danny Ray Ponder
Christina Marie McClain
Elsie Mae Judkins
William Albert Warren

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested another person in the recent burglary of a local business on Highway 70 east.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 26 year old Johnna Michelle Maynard of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. She is also cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Maynard was arrested on Tuesday, April 3. She will be in court on April 18. Her bond is $10,000.

Sheriff Ray reports that on or about March 17, Maynard served as a lookout while another person (Willie Ray Murphy) broke into a business on East Broad Street, taking several items. She is accused of helping in the commission of the theft.

During her arrest, Maynard told a drug detective that she had two needles in her bra and a bottle of xanax in her body cavity. A female correctional officer removed those items from Maynard. Found were eight and a half lorazopam pills (2 milligrams) and five lorazapam (1 milligram) pills along with the needles.

Maynard is the third person charged in this case. 28 year old Matthew Malachi Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville and 29 year old Willie Ray Murphy of West Bryant Street, Smithville are also charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. They were arrested on Friday, March 23.

According to Sheriff Ray, "Murphy went around to the side of the building (a business) and busted out a glass door. He then entered the business. While Murphy was in there, he took out some power tools for concrete work. Lawson, who brought Murphy to the business, sat in the vehicle and served as a lookout person. Lawson then left and later returned to pick up Murphy and the stolen equipment".

50 year old Lucille Killian Wright of Ragland Bottom, Sparta is charged with violation of an order of protection. She was arrested on April 3. Wright will be in court April 19. Her bond is $1,500.
Sheriff Ray reports that a deputy, while responding to a complaint of a female threatening another person at Ragland Bottom, found Wright causing the disturbance. By being near the person who had taken out the order of protection against her, Wright was found to be in violation of the order.

50 year old Danny Ray Ponder is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court April 19. Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, April 4 a deputy was called to a location on Old Mill Hill Road, where someone had reportedly stolen some metal. Upon arrival, the officer found Ponder to be the suspect. He also saw metal roofing in the bed of Ponder's truck. The deputy asked Ponder if he had permission to take the metal. Ponder replied "no".

33 year old Christina Marie McClain of Earl Steel Road, Brush Creek is charged with two counts of forgery. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court on April 19. She was arrested on April 5. Sheriff Ray said that two checks, which were stolen from a location in Smith County, were forged and cashed at an Alexandria business last month. He said that on Thursday, March 22, McClain passed a forged check on an account in the amount of $185.15. The victim stated that she had not signed the check nor authorized anyone else to sign it. Four days later on Monday, March 26, McClain passed another forged check in the amount of $240 at the same business.

43 year old Elsie Mae Judkins of Jefferson Road, Smithville was named in sealed indictments returned by the grand jury last week, charged with aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, burglary, and theft under $500. Her bond is $20,000. Judkins was arrested April 5 and she will be in court May 25.

77 year old William Albert Warren of Holiday Haven Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 14. Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, April 8, Warren's pickup truck was stopped by a deputy after the officer saw it traveling in the middle of the roadway on Short Mountain Highway. Warren had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. He was very unsteady on his feet and he could not perform any field sobriety tasks. He did submit to a blood alcohol test. Warren told the officer that he had consumed three beers.

TDOT Announces Traffic Switch on Hurricane Bridge

April 9, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced that on Tuesday during non-peak hours the contractor for the Hurricane Bridge project on SR-56 over the Caney Fork River will be switching traffic on the bridge to the other side. There may be delays during the traffic switch, and THP will assist with traffic control. Once the switch is over, the bridge will remain at one lane under signal control with the same weight restrictions.

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