Local News Articles

Two Sentenced on Drug Charges in Criminal Court

August 14, 2013
Dwayne Page
Judge David Patterson

Two men were sentenced on drug charges in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday.

38 year old Caleb Andrew Lincoln pleaded guilty by information to promotion to manufacture methamphetamine. Judge David Patterson sentenced him to two years. He was fined $2,000. Lincoln was given jail credit from May 20 to August 12, 2013. The sentence is to run consecutive to a TDOC sentence against him.

Lincoln's plea on Monday was the result of an investigation and a subsequent charge brought by the Smithville Police Department. Officer Andy Snow spotted Lincoln operating a pickup truck on Broad Street Monday, May 20. Having knowledge that Lincoln's license were suspended or revoked, Officer Snow pulled over the truck on West Main Street. Officer Snow asked for and received consent from Lincoln to search his truck. Found in the bed were meth lab components. Lincoln was placed under arrest. Lieutenant Matt Holmes was also involved in the investigation.

The sheriff's department, two months before on March 20, cited Lincoln in a separate case for simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine) and drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, March 20 a deputy performed a welfare check on a man who appeared to be intoxicated at the Mapco Express. The officer asked Lincoln for his drivers license but he could not produce a valid license, only an ID. Lincoln told the officer that he had needles and methamphetamine. Found were needles and two small plastic baggies that contained less than a gram of methamphetamine.

54 year old Randy Mitchell Hobbs pleaded guilty to felony possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. He received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. He must return a gun to a family member.

Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 a sheriff's department drug detective assisted a probation official in checking on Hobbs at his residence. Hobbs let the officers into his home and they performed a search. Found in a living room dresser drawer were several buds of marijuana which weighed over five ounces. A search of Hobbs' person turned up a plastic bag containing marijuana. More than twenty marijuana seeds were found on a living room desk. Meanwhile, in a bedroom closet, officers found a 12 gauge shotgun. Seven- twelve gauge shotgun shells were also found in the living room. Hobbs was arrested and transported to the jail for booking.

New Report Card Being Developed for Kindergarten and First Grade Students

August 13, 2013
Dwayne Page
Draft of Standards Based Report Card for Kindergartden and 1st Grade

As part of the new Common Core State Standards initiative, the DeKalb County School System is introducing a new standards-based report card this year for kindergarten and first grade students.

0230_001.pdf (212.93 KB)

The purpose of the new reporting system is to provide parents and teachers with more accurate information about students' progress toward meeting the specific content standards for the various subjects taught at each grade level.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K through 6th grade, informed the Board of Education Thursday night that the new report card is still in draft form and may be subject to further revisions before its implemented. "We have had kindergarten teachers working on this report card for a period of time and they have done an excellent job but it is still in draft form because we want to make some changes before it goes to print," said Burklow.

Once implemented, educators will know whether all students are learning what they should in each grade by monitoring the skills listed on the report card. " This report card highlights the standards and important skills that a child should learn while in Kindergarten or first grade," said Burklow. " This is one step in a sequence of steps that we have taken to reach a goal. Teachers have worked diligently on creating pacing guides so they will know exactly what will be taught each nine weeks. At the end of that nine week period, there will be common assessments so that every kindergarten and first grade teacher in DeKalb County will be assessing the same skills at the same time every nine weeks. If a child moves from one school to another, he or she will still be at the same point in his or her academic career as students in the other schools," said Burklow.

Traditional report cards usually assign one grade for reading, one for math, one for science and so on. On a standards-based report card, each of these subject areas is divided into a list of skills and knowledge that students are responsible for learning. Students receive a separate mark for each standard.

The achievement marks indicate a child’s progress toward meeting specific grade-level standards. "Teachers will determine proficiency levels of students by using a report card benchmark," said Burklow. "At the end of the nine weeks, the teachers will make an assessment and use that to guide the report card. They will assess specific standards and that will be part of the report card," she said.

According to Burklow, the new report card will be a better tool for parents in identifying subject areas and skills where their children are excelling or might need help. "Standards are given a number. On the test that the students will be taking, there will also be a number correlating to the standard. So when a parent looks at the test, they will also see on the report card if that skill was mastered or not. It can be used as a tool, as a guide to give examples to the parents on how to help their child to master those skills. So not only are they going to receive this report card or something similar to it, but they're also going to receive the assessment that helped guide that report card and use that as a tool to work with the teacher on helping the students master the skills," she said.

Instead of letter grades, the standards based report card will grade students by numbers 1-4. " Category 4 would mean students are advanced," said Burklow. " That means they have an understanding of the standards, the skills. It exceeds the grade level expectations. Earning a 3 would mean that students are proficient in understanding the skills and meet grade level expectations. We want all students to be at that proficient level. So a 3 would mean that they are right on target for gaining all their academic information for the school year. A 3 would be something to celebrate. A 2 would mean that the student has a basic understanding of the skill/skills being tested. This child is progressing toward mastery but needs a little polishing on a specific skill. A 1 would mean that the student has minimal understanding. Here again, teachers and parents would work together, intervene with that student so that they would progress up to mastery," said Burklow.

The new report card, when implemented, will be just for kindergarten and first grade students this year but could be used for higher grade levels later. "As we move to next year, we would like to implement it on up to second grade and then progress up to third grade. We're not sure where we might stop. We feel like this tool will be very beneficial for parents and teachers and that it will really build that strong partnership in a child's education," said Burklow.

"Once we have finalized the report card and it has gone to print my goal is to hold parent workshops during the day and evenings to share with parents a copy of the new report card and clarify terminology being used," she concluded.

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Smithville Police Charge Alleged Obscene Phone Caller with Felony Stalking

August 13, 2013
Dwayne Page
Walter Smouthers

A 52 year old registered sex offender has been charged by Smithville Police with three counts of felony stalking for allegedly using a pre-paid cell phone to make sexually explicit calls from his home in Paris, Tennessee to female store clerks in Smithville.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE that Walter Smouthers, a former resident of Smithville, was arrested Monday by Detective Brandon Donnell and Corporal Travis Bryant at Smouthers' home in Paris. Smouthers is under a $30,000 bond and he will be in court on August 15. Further charges are pending against him.

Police believe Smouthers used the cell phone he purchased at a Walmart to make hundreds of sexually explicit calls over the past year to female clerks at six Smithville businesses.

According to Detective Donnell, Smouthers was arrested in 2007 for making similar types of phone calls to some of the same victims as in the latest cases. "It started happening again over the past year," said Detective Donnell. "We got enough evidence to obtain a search warrant for the phone number and records and it pinged at an address in Paris, Tennessee. Through an investigation, we found that Smouthers, who lives in Paris Tennessee and is a registered sex offender, made the calls. After an investigation, it was determined a prepaid phone from Wal-mart was used to place the calls," said Detective Donnell.

Smouthers placed his last call only minutes before police arrived to arrest him. "Twenty minutes before he was picked up and arrested, he had placed another call to Smithville," said Detective Donnell.

"We believe this phone was used just for this purpose. He didn't report having the phone and that would be a violation of the sex offender rules he is under in Paris, Tennessee," said Detective Donnell.

Police found Smouthers' cell phone hidden under a dresser in his Paris, Tennessee home.

The case was investigated by Detective Donnell and Corporal Bryant.

Five Charged in Meth Lab Case; Another Indicted in Separate Burglary & Theft Investigation

August 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Patricia Lynn Durham
Tara Leann Alford
Andy Joe Certain
Brandon Wayne Hutchings
Sherry Kay Malone
Travis Marcus Melton

Five people have been arrested by the Sheriff's Department on drug charges after a detective found a meth lab at a Smithville residence last week.

46 year old Patricia Lynn Durham of Driver Street, Smithville; 36 year old Tara Leann Alford of Old Harrison Ferry Road, McMinnville; 36 year old Andy Joe Certain of Bright Hill Road, Smithville; and 25 year old Brandon Wayne Hutchings of Young Ridge Road, Sparta are all charged with promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine. 34 year old Sherry Kay Malone of Commerce Street, Watertown is charged with initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. Bond for each is $50,000 and they will be in court August 22.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, August 6 a drug detective went to Durham's residence for a knock and talk. After receiving consent from Durham, the homeowner, to do a search, the detective found a one liter cook bottle, a 20 ounce bottle containing a bi-layered liquid, two lithium batteries, a bag of white powder believed to be Pseudoephedrine weighing 29 grams, 12 hypodermic needles, a visine bottle containing acid, and several other items used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

According to Sheriff Ray, Malone admitted to the detective that the meth making components found belonged to her. The others were charged because they were in the same room where the items were located.

20 year old Travis Marcus Melton of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta was arrested on Tuesday, August 6. He was named in a sealed indictment by the Grand Jury on Monday, August 5 for aggravated burglary (2 counts), theft of property over $1,000, and theft of property under $500. His bond is $40,000.

WJLE has obtained a copy of the indictment now that it has been unsealed with Melton's arrest. In the case of aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000, the indictment alleges that "On or about the 1st day of March, 2012, Melton did intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly enter the habitation of the victim with the intent to commit theft of property, constituting the offense of aggravated burglary."

The indictment further alleges that Melton "did knowingly exercise control over certain property, to wit: a 12 gauge shotgun, 12 gauge ammunition, a Disney Pellet Rifle, a .22 Ruger handgun, ammunition, a 52 inch flat screen television, a DVD player, a leather jewelry box, $25 cash, several knives, an air compressor, tools, a tool box, pillow cases, several bottles of liquor, a gas can, a hatchet with sheath, a machete with sheath, a Browning hunting knife with sheath, two fishing poles with reels, a coke machine key and $3 in change, being over the value of $1,000, the property of the victim, constituting the offense of theft."

In the other case of aggravated burglary and theft under $500, the indictment alleges that "On or about the 3rd day of March, 2012, Melton did intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly enter the habitation of the victim with the intent to commit theft of property, constituting the offense of aggravated burglary."

The indictment further alleges that "Melton did knowingly exercise control over certain property, to wit: a Henry .22 lever action rifle, being under the value of $500, the property of the victim, constituting the offense of theft."

After he was arrested on the charges in the sealed indictments, Melton was further charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. His bond on the drug charge is $10,000. Sheriff Ray said that while being booked into the jail on Tuesday, August 6, officers asked Melton if he had anything on him. He replied no. Before being locked down, Melton was searched by a correctional officer who found less than a half ounce of marijuana on his person.

Police Make Arrest in Burglary at Smithville Review Office

August 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Justin Clyde Hale

Smithville Police have arrested a man they believe broke into the office of the Smithville Review around 3:30 a.m. Friday morning, August 9.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Monday that 26 year old Justin Clyde Hale is charged with vandalism over $1,000, theft of property over $1,000, and burglary. His bond totals $20,000 and he will be in court on September 26.

The case was investigated by Detective Brandon Donnell and Lieutenant Matt Holmes.

According to police, Hale allegedly gained entry by breaking out the glass in the front door. The office was reportedly ransacked and items stolen included some jewelry, $181 taken from a cash box, and some collectable ink pens.

During their investigation, Detective Donnell and Lieutenant Holmes developed Hale as a suspect and found him later that day (Friday) at a local residence where he had been staying. The owner gave police consent to search and found in an area of the home frequented by Hale were the ink pens taken from the Smithville Review office and the $181 in cash reported stolen. The items were found hidden with some of Hale's personal belongings. None of the stolen jewelry has been recovered.

Hale was placed under arrest and charged with the crimes.

Police say Hale is a suspect in other burglaries and thefts and he may be facing further charges.

Fugitive Wanted for Attempted Murder in West Virginia Found in Smithville

August 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Keith O'Brian Jeffries

A man wanted in Mercer County, West Virginia for attempted second degree murder was found at a Smithville residence last week.

47 year old Keith O'Brian Jeffries is charged with being a fugitive from justice. His bond is $100,000 and he will be in court on August 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 8 a deputy went to a residence on Morgan Drive after receiving information that Jeffries was there and that he had an active warrant against him. When the officer arrived at the residence, he knocked on the door and was let in. People there told the deputy that Jeffries was in a back bedroom. The deputy went to the bedroom and knocked on the door but no one answered. The officer then forced his way into the room, found Jeffries, and arrested him.

21 year old Joshua Lee Anderson of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with vandalism. His bond is $1,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 8 while in the jail on other charges, Anderson stuffed a blanket down the toilet and flushed it, causing the cell to flood. He covered up the cameras to keep correctional officers from being able to witness the incident.

42 year old Richard Brandon Turner of East Market Street, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on August 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, August 8 a deputy was dispatched to a call of a person lying in the roadway on Highway 70. Upon arrival, the officer found Turner leaning on a vehicle. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. For Turner's safety and that of the public, he was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

28 year old Stephen Hunter Pugh of Woodbury Highway, Liberty is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a revoked license. His bond is $7,500 and he will be in court on August 22. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 9 Pugh was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 70 west when he was stopped by a deputy for failure to maintain his lane of travel. The officer had prior knowledge that Pugh's license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked for a prior DUI on May 14, 2009 in DeKalb County. Pugh's speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Pugh also had a white powdery substance in and on his nose. He performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood test. Pugh was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

41 year old Chad Brian Hunsberger of Possum Hollow Road, Gordonsville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court October 2. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 10 Hunsberger was involved in a motor vehicle accident in the Handlebars parking lot on Highway 70. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Hunsberger refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and he refused to take a blood test. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

25 year old John David Anderson of Quail Point Drive, Smithville is charged with criminal trespassing. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court August 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, July 30, Anderson was at the home of a family member on Quail Point Drive after being told several times to stay off the property. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

34 year old Hector Caballero of Talley Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for failure to maintain his lane of travel and for violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court August 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 2 Caballero was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 56 when he was stopped by an officer for failure to maintain his lane of travel. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. His speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Caballero performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He refused to submit to a blood test. Caballero admitted to the officer that he had consumed beer and that he was too drunk to drive. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

New SRO's Began Duties Monday

August 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
New SRO's Begin Duties

The four new School Resource Officers have completed training and began their duties Monday morning at the schools to which they have been assigned.

Sheriff Patrick Ray told WJLE Monday that the SRO officers will be working at the following schools:

Officer Terry Cowart, Jr. at Smithville Elementary School

Officer Roger Whitehead at Northside Elementary School

Officer Chris McMillen at DeKalb Middle School

Officer Kenneth Whitehead at DeKalb County High School

Officer Lewis Carrick at DeKalb West School.

SROs are new to all schools except DCHS where officer Kenneth Whitehead has worked as an SRO for several years.

"The new SRO's just completed a 40 hour intense School Resource Officer Training Seminar in Williamson County," said Sheriff Ray. "They graduated last Friday. They started Monday morning at the schools to which they were assigned. Each school resource officer and I met with their principal, some of the teachers, and some of the students. We were made to feel very welcomed in each and every school. I plan to meet with the SRO's every week to discuss what is going on at each school to keep me up to date. That way I can pass information on to the deputies and detectives or back to the SRO's if I need to," he said.

According to Sheriff Ray, a School Resource Officer is intended to be more than just an armed guard at the school. " The main goal of the school resource officer is to prevent juvenile delinquency. He does that by promoting positive relations between youth and law enforcement," said Sheriff Ray. "These five school resource officers are not just cops on the school campus. These school resource officers provide law enforcement duties but they also provide education and counseling. They educate the students by teaching law related classes and other subjects in the classroom and they also counsel both the students and the parents on various topics. The SRO's main objective is to be a positive role model in the life of a student. It's intended for the school resource officer program to bridge a gap between juveniles and law enforcement. By doing this, it is to help prevent juvenile crime," he said.

County funds have been budgeted this year to pay for the four new SRO officers. Two of the positions are funded in the county general budget and the other two by the school budget. "I would like to thank County Mayor Mike Foster, the county commission, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, and the DeKalb County Board of Education for allowing funding for the extra four school resource officers this year. We have a total of five schools in DeKalb County and now all five schools has an SRO assigned to them," said Sheriff Ray.

(Left to Right: Officers Lewis Carrick, Terry Cowart, Jr. Roger Whitehead, Chris McMillan, Kenneth Whitehead, and Sheriff Patrick Ray)

Sunday Fuel Spill at Mapco Express Keeps Cleanup Crew Busy

August 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Sunday Fuel Spill at Mapco Express
Mapco Express

A fuel spill at Mapco Express Sunday morning kept the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and the HEPACO cleanup crew busy for most of the day.

According to Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker, a hose came loose from the tanker of a fuel delivery truck which caused about 100 gallons of fuel to spill onto the ground in the parking lot of the store.

Members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments were alerted around 10:30 a.m. and quickly came to the scene. The parking lot was blocked off to traffic and the store was closed during the cleanup of the spill.

"Some of the fuel went down a storm drain," said Chief Parker. We (firefighters) put down some absorbent booms (pads) where the storm drain empties out into the creek to soak up the fuel. We also assisted the HEPACO cleanup crew in flushing some chemicals through the storm drain to break down the fuel and then rinsing it out," he said.

The fire department cleared the scene around 5:00 p.m. No one was injured.

Local Couple Wins National Homesteading Award

August 12, 2013
Local Couple Wins National Homesteading Award

Want to raise your own food but don’t have a farming background? Desire trumps experience, according to Andrew and Suzanne Cox of Smithville.

Although they only began homesteading three years ago, the Coxes have been named runners-up on Grit’s 2013 Homesteaders of the Year list. Grit will profile the couple in its September-October issue, on newsstands Aug. 27.

The Coxes now raise most of their meat, with chickens, sheep, pigs, a steer and two milk heifers roaming their 24 acres. The family plans to add milk goats next year. They also grow fruits and three large heritage-crop gardens. Bartering helps them acquire equipment and animals without going into debt.

“Andrew and Suzanne embody the Grit spirit: ‘stick-to-it-iveness,’ a strong sense of family and community, and a desire to be self-sufficient,” says Hank Will, editor in chief of Grit.

The magazine names Danielle Figel, Ocean County, N.J.; Lewis and Eleanore Janetos, Rollinsford, N.H.; and Eric and Wendy Slatt, Kershaw, S.C., Homesteaders of the Year. Other runners-up are Mike and Alison Buehler, Starkville, Miss., and Robert Reid and Britnee Atnip, Gastonia, N.C.

Grit sought Homesteaders of the Year nominations from its readers, online audience and through social media.

The Homesteaders of the Year kick off International Homesteading Education Month in September. Grit, Capper’s and Mother Earth News magazines sponsor this celebration of modern homesteading. Their online hub enables anyone to register tours, workshops, open houses or other events, and the titles have promoted Homesteading Education Month throughout the summer. Everyone is welcome to participate — individuals, organizations and companies offering products for self-reliant living — both by signing up to host an event and by using the online listings to find nearby events to attend. Current and would-be homesteaders can also enter the Holy Hee-Haw! Homesteader Giveaway.

To nominate a 2014 Homesteader of the Year, email information and photos, if available, to hwill@grit.com with the subject line “Homesteader of the Year.”

About Grit
Grit magazine (www.Grit.com) has celebrated rural American lifestyles since 1882. Each bimonthly issue combines practical articles, product reviews, do-it-yourself building plans, beautiful photos, reader advice, humor and a healthy dose of fresh attitude to offer a complete guide to life outside the city limits.

About Ogden Publications Inc.
Ogden Publications Inc. (www.OgdenPubs.com) is the leading information resource serving the sustainable living, rural lifestyle, farm memorabilia and classic motorcycle communities. Key brands include Mother Earth News, Mother Earth Living, Utne Reader, Capper’s and Grit. Ogden Publications also produces environmentally friendly housewares through Natural Home Products LLC, and provides insurance and financial services through its Capper’s Insurance Service division.

Payne Denman to Compete in US Amateur Championship

August 12, 2013
Dwayne Page
Payne Denman

DeKalb County's own Payne Denman will have a chance to showcase his skills on the national stage this week during the 113th United States Amateur Golf Championship at The Country Club in Brookline, Mass.

Denman competed last week in the 98th Tennessee State Amateur Championship in Chattanooga, where he placed 4th.

To view results of the US Amateur Championship, visit http://www.usga.org/ChampEventScore.aspx?id=17179869326&year=2013&type=p...


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