Local News Articles

School Board Earns TSBA "Distinction" Honor

August 2, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education has completed the necessary steps to become a "Board of Distinction"

The award, presented by the Tennessee School Boards Association, is to recognize outstanding performance by school boards as a whole.

Tennessee school boards that seek this designation must meet specified requirements in four key areas: planning, policy, promotion and board development. Board of Distinction status is for two years, after which time the board may reapply for continued status.

In a letter to Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, Cindy Smith, TSBA Member Services Coordinator, says "This is a great honor for the DeKalb County Board of Education, and I congratulate each of you on this outstanding achievement."

"At a later date, a TSBA District Director will present your Board of Distinction plaque during a school board meeting.."

First Day of School Education Celebration Set for Tuesday

August 1, 2008

The Third Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Tuesday, August 5th from 6-7:30 P.M. downtown around the Court House Square.

This Education Celebration is nationally known as First Day of School America and is held annually in a lot of the bigger cities in the United States. Since 1997 the First Day Foundation organization has been assisting schools, families and communities to come together for a celebration on the First Day of each new school year to support education and begin a year-long partnership to promote student success. This is also a time that parents and students can become more familiar with the faculty, staff and PTO of the school that they are entering.

The community can support First Day in a number of ways. Community based organizations can provide materials and resources to parents to make them aware of services available to them in the community. Community leaders- mayors, city council members, clergy, businesses, corporate leaders and others can visit the schools and events and show their support. Local businesses partner with schools by donating products, services and volunteers to the First Day Celebration.

Events planned for DeKalb County’s First Day event are all five schools in DeKalb County will have a booth and be displaying a photo board with their staff and their individual credentials. Each school will also be represented by their school’s PTO about what the PTO does and how parents can help. Many organizations will be there giving out information about resources available to them. Refreshments, inflatable jumping balloons and FREE school supplies will also be part of the celebration.

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join us in Downtown Smithville on Tuesday

Please remember that one of our goals for the evening is to have a safe and fun event for all. The City of Smithville partners with us in our concern for the safety of all participants on this evening and they block off traffic so please work with us and do not park in areas that have been closed to vehicle traffic. The safety of our students and families is very important to us.

The First Day of School America-- Education Celebration committee would like to take this opportunity to THANK the sponsors that are making this event possible:

Churches
Smithville Church of Christ
Alexandria Church of Christ
Dry Creek Baptist Church
New Hope Baptist Church
Grace Bible Church
Church of the Nazarene
Jacob Pillar United Methodist Church
New West Point Free Will Baptist Church
Indian Creek Baptist Church
Tabernacle, The Baptist Church
UMW First Methodist Church
First Methodist Church
Liberty Methodist Church
Upper Helton Baptist Church
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Banks Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Lighthouse Home Ministries
Dowelltown Methodist Church
Dowelltown Baptist Church
Temple Baptist Church
Johnson’s Chapel Free Will Baptist
Smithville Church of God
Calvary Baptist Church
New Union The Baptist Church
Salem Baptist Church
Gospel Lighthouse Baptist
Smithville Church of God
Laurel Hill Church
Mt. View, The Baptist Church
New Life United Pentecostal
St. Gregory’s Catholic Church
Smithville First Free Will Baptist
New Life Community Church
Smithville First Baptist Church

Businesses/Organizations
Wal Mart
Food Lion
Pamida
DeKalb Farm Bureau
Wilson Bank and Trust
Dr. David Foutch
Dr. Cliff Duke
Love Cantrell Funeral Home
Janney and Associates
Smithville Order of Eastern Star 374
T Koen Orthodontics, PLLC
Griffin’s Fruit Market
Jr. Pro Basketball
DeKalb Co. Tee Ball Coach Pitch
Chris Whitney (Florence and White Ford)
Middle Tennessee Natural Gas (Hometown Help)
Kingston Timers

Booths
Mr. Bratten “Butch” Cook, Juvenile Court Judge
Smithville Elementary and PTO
Northside Elementary and PTO
DeKalb Middle School and PTO
DeKalb Co High School and PTO
Dekalb County West School and PTO
DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department
City Fire Department
Pre-K
DeKalb County Wellness Commission
DeKalb Community Bank/Wilson Bank and Trust
Liberty State Bank
DeKalb County High School Marching Band
University of Tennessee Extension
TNCEP Tennessee Nutrition Consumer Education Program
Imagination Library sign up at the public library
Hendrix Financial Group
Tops- Migrant Education Program
DeKalb County Health Department
DTC Wireless
Blue Flame University (MTNG)
Tennessee Highway Patrol
Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency
Hendrix Financial
Garrett Insurance
Tennessee Voices for Children
DeKalb County Public Libraries

A special thanks to the City of Smithville, DeKalb County Officials, and the many volunteers that makes this event possible for the students in our county.

Bridge to be Closed to Traffic but Preserved as Historical Structure

July 29, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A bridge at Dry Creek is being closed to traffic but it will become an Historical bridge remaining open for pedestrians.

The county commission took the action Monday night.

County Mayor Mike Foster says this concrete arch bridge is on Dry Creek Lane, a short road that connects Dry Creek Road and the Old Dry Creek Road, just off Highway 70. " There's very little traffic on it but it is kind of a unique bridge. We got a letter from the state concerning this bridge. They are basically saying that it either needs to be replaced or closed. You can get on either Old Dry Creek or New Dry Creek Road within a hundred yards on either side of the bridge. So it (Dry Creek Lane) just connects that little area there. It doesn't make sense to spend a half a million dollars putting a new bridge there when we need them in other places. It was Kenny's (Edge) recommendation that we close the bridge to traffic but blocking it so that it can be open to foot traffic and that it be retained as an Historical site because of it's unique construction."

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge told WJLE Tuesday that this is the only remaining arch bridge in DeKalb County. The bridge was designed and built in 1922 by the Luten Bridge Company of Knoxville.

(Picture-Kenny Edge stands near bridge at Dry Creek)

Woman Charged with Child Abuse and Neglect

July 30, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 31 year old Smithville woman has been charged with child abuse and neglect for allegedly leaving a young child in her vehicle while shopping at Wal-mart Friday.

Smithville Police say Saprena Lee Cooley of Pine Grove Road will appear in General Sessions Court on the charges August 7th, Her bond is $2,500.

According to police reports, the Smithville Police Department received a call of a small child left in a car at Wal-mart on Friday, July 25th. Upon arrival, Officers found a two year old girl left alone with the doors locked and the window not cracked. The outside temperature at the time was approximately 76 degrees. The child was alone in the vehicle for approximately 20 minutes while Cooley was in Wal-mart shopping. The child was not injured and was later released to her mother.

The case was investigated by Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins Jr. and officers Travis Bryant and Randy King. The arrest was made around 1:54 p.m. Friday.

Meanwhile, a three year old child is recovering from of a dog attack Monday afternoon.

Police say Officer Matt Holmes was dispatched to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital for a dog bite. Upon arrival, Officer Holmes states that " I made contact with the mother of the child, Jill Kennedy. She advised me that about an hour and a half earlier, she and her child, Tony Moore, were at 435 Holmes Creek Road. She advised that her three year old son was playing fetch with a dog for about an hour when suddenly the dog attacked him. She quickly retrieved the child and left. The child, according to the police report, had two large gashes on his head and his ear was cut." No charges were filed.

In another case, 25 year old Eric D. White of New Hope Road, Alexandria was charged with theft of property under $500 on Sunday, July 27th. He is under a $2,500 bond and will be in court on the charge August 7th.

Police say White allegedly took an RCA mp3 player from Wal-mart without paying for it, valued at $43.77. White allegedly took the player out of the package and placed it on his person and then left the store.

The case was investigated by Officer Travis Bryant.

White was charged in a separate case Sunday for public intoxication. Sergeant Joey Jones responded to Crestlawn Avenue to the Housing Authority Office on a suspicious vehicle call. Upon arrival, Sergeant Jones found the vehicle and saw the subject laying in the seat. Upon getting the subject up, the officer noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. When the man got out of the vehicle, he was very unsteady on his feet.

White will also be in court on the public intoxication charge August 7th.

36 year old Patsy Estes of Highland Drive was charged July 14th with public intoxication.

Officer Matt Farmer reports that he responded to Wal-mart to a possible shoplifter. Upon arrival, he was sent to the automotive section. While walking down the isle, employees pointed to a section, but before he got there, he saw Estes, who came out of an area and ran her shopping buggy into a display in the middle of the isle. She came toward Officer Farmer, almost hitting him with the cart. While speaking to her, Officer Farmer noticed her speech was very slurred and she was very unsteady on her feet. She was placed under arrest.

Estes is under a $1,000 bond and she will be in court on the charge August 14th.

Police have also taken reports on several recent thefts.

A resident at 824 West Main Street told police that he discovered the theft when he returned home Friday night around 9:00 p.m. An unknown person kicked in a rear door and took property which was last seen at 11:00 a.m. Friday. Items taken include a Play Station, valued at $500, an NCAA ‘09, valued at $60, and the rear door with window, valued at $40.

Another theft was reported on Thursday, July 24th at 450 West Main Street. The victim reported that he left home at 6:00 a.m. and discovered the theft when he returned at 2:00 p.m. Items missing include an Emerson microwave, valued at $100; a Panasonic Stereo speaker, valued at $150; $200 in change; and $50 in cash.

Police were dispatched to 215 West Main Street on Monday, July 21st where the resident reported that someone broke into his apartment and stole a 20 inch RCA TV. The victim said he had left for work at 6:30 a.m. and returned at 4:30 p.m. to find the door open.

Another West Main Street resident also reported a theft on Friday. The woman told police that on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. she went to her son's home and returned at 10:00 p.m. to discover that someone had broken in and stolen figurines, lock box, jewelry, and clothes, among other items, valued at several hundred dollars.

Eight People Arrested by Sheriff's Department Since Last Monday

July 28, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Eight people have been arrested by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department since last week on various charges ranging from traffic violations and filing false reports to drug offenses.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 26 year old Josue Alberto Sosa-Torres of Blue Springs Road, Smithville was arrested after he was involved in a one car accident on Patterson Road. After Torres crashed his vehicle, he fled and was found approximately ½ mile from the scene. Torres was also found to be driving on a revoked license for a DUI which occurred on July 8th, 2006 in DeKalb County. Torres was charged with driving on a revoked license and leaving the scene of an accident and he was issued a citation for violation of the financial responsibility law. Torres' bond was set a $2,000 and he will appear in court on July 30th.

49 year old Rickey Dale Dickerson and 43 year old Angela Michelle Dickerson of
Gravel Hill Road, Beth Page Tennessee were stopped on Highway 70 West for a traffic violation on July 21st. Upon consent to search their vehicle, detectives found partially smoked marijuana in a cigarette pack, a small bag of marijuana under the seat, and rolling papers. Rickey Dickerson was charged with simple possession of marijuana and his bond was set at $1,500. Angela Dickerson was charged with simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (rolling papers) and her bond was set at $2,500. Both will appear in court July 31st.

In another case, Sheriff Ray says deputies worked a bogus hit and run accident on Short Mountain Highway on July 24th. 26 year old Jason Glenn Deckard of Hennessee Bridge Road, Rock Island and 21 year old Ryan Edward Herron of McMinnville Highway, Smithville went to a residence on Short Mountain Highway and reported that Herron was hit by a vehicle, which left the scene. The residents called 911 and reported the accident. EMS and Sheriff's Department Officials responded. After an investigation, it was discovered that Herron wanted sympathy from one of his family members and he and Deckard made the story up. Herron and Deckard were charged with filing a false report and bond for them was set at $1,500. They will appear in court on August 7th.

46 year old Willy Edward Price of Sparta Highway, Sparta was charged July 25th with driving on a revoked driver's license after he was stopped on Highway 70 East for a traffic violation. Price's license was revoked for a DUI in Warren County. Bond for Price was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on August 27th.

34 year old Rachael Rose Redmon of McMinnville Highway, Smithville and 25 year old Mary Diane Roller of College Street Smithville were arrested July 26th as the result of a two car accident on Short Mountain Highway on July 18th of this year. Roller and Redmon both advised deputies at the scene of the accident that Roller was the driver of one of the vehicles and Redmon was her passenger. Upon an investigation into the crash, it was learned that Redmon was actually the driver and that Roller had arrived at the scene later in another vehicle before deputies got there. Sheriff Ray says Roller wasn't involved in the accident at all. Both Redmon and Roller were charged with filing a false report and bond for them was set at $1,500. They will appear in court on August 21st.

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.

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