Local News Articles

Two Men Allegedly Caught Committing a Theft

May 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two men were arrested last week after allegedly being caught committing a theft.

28 year old Christopher Pearson Myers and 25 year old Michael Ray Reeder
both of Pine Orchard Road ,Smithville were charged Monday with Burglary, Aggravated
Burglary, and Theft of Property over $500.00.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the two were caught by a land owner on Cookeville Highway stealing items out of a house and outbuilding. The two allegedly took items such as 2 gas heaters, 2 plows, chest freezer, cookstove, several hand operated tools, and other items valued at over
$500. Bond for both was set at $22,500 and their court date is set for June 5th.

Meanwhile on Thursday, 50 year old Katrina J. Laliberte of Circle Drive, Dowelltown was
charged with a first offense of driving under the influence after she was involved in an accident in Dowelltown.

Sheriff Ray says Laliberte was operating an ATV on Sims Street in Dowelltown when she wrecked. After deputies arrived, they smelled a strong odor of alcohol on her person. She also had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet. She was given field sobriety tasks which she failed. Laliberte was then placed under arrest. Her bond was set at $1,500 and her court date is June 12th.

DeKalb Teachers to Attend NASA Workshop, Shuttle Launch

May 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Four teachers from DeKalb and Cannon County will participate in NASA workshops and watch a space shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center as guests of U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

Anita Arnold of Short Mountain Elementary, Lisa Cripps and Karen Pelham of DeKalb Middle School, and Genrose Davis of DeKalb West Elementary School will attend workshops and watch the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, which is scheduled for early evening Saturday, May 31st.

"I'm hoping it will increase their interest in math and science, particularly science," Arnold said of the eight graders she teaches. "I try to stress that science is something that affects us every day."

Both Cripps and Pelham teach eighth graders, Cripps teaches science, and Pelham teaches math and science. Davis, a librarian for 32 years, says she is excited about the trip.

"This will open up the space and rocket sections of my books. We have several, but I'm sure I'll be looking for more," Davis said. "I have been to Cape Canaveral and toured inside about 35 years ago. Lots of things have changed in 35 years, especially in space."

Gordon, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, worked with NASA officials to develop an itinerary the teachers can take back to their classrooms to build enthusiasm about math and science among their students. Strengthening math and science education is a cornerstone of Gordon's America COMPETES ACT, which became law last year in an effort to keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace.

"When you ask astronauts, engineers and other scientists what inspired them to enter their fields, most of them will tell you they were inspired by a teacher," said Gordon. "I hope this experience will give these teachers another way to inspire their students.

This group will be the second group of teachers from Gordon's congressional district to attend a space shuttle launch as guests of the congressman. A group of 10 teachers met with Gordon and attended a rare night launch of the space shuttle Endeavor on March 10th.

"Many of those teachers told me that experience will greatly enhance their lessons on math and science," said Gordon.

Fourteen teachers from DeKalb, Rutherford, Wilson, and Trousdale counties have been selected to watch the space shuttle Discovery launch.

The teachers will begin their experience on Friday afternoon, May 30th, with a tour of the launch pad, vehicle assembly building and shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On Saturday, May 31st, the group will attend professional development workshops with NASA personnel to help the educators develop lessons on rocketry and technology used by astronauts. The teachers will then have VIP access to view the shuttle launch, scheduled to occur at 5:02 p.m.

State House Acts to Expand Scholarships to Nearly 12,000 Tennessee Students

May 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

On Wednesday, The State House of Representatives passed legislation to provide for college scholarships for approximately 12,000 Tennesseans.

"This bill helps nearly 12,000 Tennesseans achieve the American dream of earning a college degree," said Representative Frank Buck. "By helping more students retain the HOPE Scholarship, we're going to improve Tennessee's graduation rates and erase college debt for thousands of local students."

The new legislation places $359.5 million of lottery reserve funds into an endowment that is expected to produce recurring revenues of over $27.5 million. These revenues will fund the expansion of Tennessee's HOPE Scholarship, reducing the retention GPA from 3.0 to 2.75 for the first three years of college, followed by a per semester minimum of 3.0 for every semester after a student's junior year. The funds will also allow students to extend the amount of time they may maintain the HOPE Scholarship to 5 years.

"So many things can happen during a student's college experience, and to allow one bad semester to ruin a child's long term future is against everything that the HOPE Scholarship stands for," Buck said. "With these recurring dollars, we can help nearly 4,000 students a year retain their scholarship and continue their education. Many Tennesseans have to work to get through college and we're going to help these folks."

In addition to the expansion of the HOPE Scholarship, the bill also funds up to 5,000 need-based TSAC grants designed to help students who currently qualify for financial assistance. The new legislation will also fund the "Helping Heroes Act of 2008," a grant service that will assist returning Tennessee soldiers from Irag and Afghanistan with college and cover the shortfall that is currently created by the federal GI bill.

"Our brave men and women returning home from war deserve a fully-funded college education and thanks to the Helping Heroes Act, Tennessee soldiers will," Buck said.

Upon signature by Governor Phil Bredesen, the new legislation is slated to go into effect on July 1st, 2008.

Early Voting Begins Wednesday for City Election

May 24, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election begins Wednesday, May 28th.

Voting will be held Mondays through Saturdays, May 28th through June 12th in the basement courtroom of the courthouse. Voting hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 17th.

Candidates for mayor are Incumbent Taft Hendrixson and challenger Faye Driver Fuqua.

Aldermen contenders are incumbents Steven White and Cecil Burger and challengers Danny Washer and Alford Webber.

On election day, the polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. also in the basement of the courthouse.

Woods and Turner Receive White Rose Awards at DCHS Graduation

May 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tyler Woods
Tayla Turner
Travis Woodward

Tyler Woods and Tayla Turner received the White Rose Awards from Principal Kathy Hendrix. Travis Woodward received the Citizenship Award.

Click on an image to see larger.

It was a night of tears and cheers for members of the Class of 2008 at DeKalb County High School Friday evening on the occasion of their graduation.

Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Tyler Woods and Tayla Turner while the Citizenship Award was presented to Travis Woodward.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for outstanding achievement and leadership, academics, and other activities. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DeKalb County High School. The honors students were also recognized during the program.

A total of 154 students received diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Kathy Hendrix.

In remarks to the Class, Valedictorian Nick Winchester urged his fellow students to make good use of their education. " As Edward Koch once said, "The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse. As we sit here amongst our family and friends, this is not only a time to celebrate all the hard work and dedication, but a time to reminisce on all the memories that have made our high school career the one it was. Cherish these days and hold them close to your heart. There are never going to be anymore like them. As we think about the long journey we just completed, we could have never done it if it weren't for the teachers. If I do say so myself, they have done a spectacular job with us. As each of you set for the road ahead, remember Jeremiah 29:11 that states, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Keep your goals high and reach for the stars."

Class Officer Tyler Woods advised the graduates to let God guide them. " We are here to hopefully shed perspective on what it is we've accomplished, where it is we've come from, and what we have in store for our future. The greatest years of our life will not come in one era. It will come day by day as we let God make it what he wills. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. " Proverbs 3:5-6. It is so powerful to me. God is sovereign and if we want to be truly in control we must surrender control."

Principal Kathy Hendrix, in her remarks to the class, admonished the graduates to confront life's challenges and work to achieve their dreams. " Graduation marks the end of high school and the beginning of a bright future. But more importantly, it marks achievement. It's a ceremony of honor and recognition. Your teachers, parents, and grandparents have given you the foundation, the base upon which to build. The rest will be largely up to you. I would challenge you tonight never to stop learning. Cultivate and exercise your mind as you go through life. Stay focused on your goals in life. Sometimes you may fall down. Get right back up and go forward. Acknowledge your obstacles. Don't empower them. If you're not prepared for your journey and everyday challenges, search for what you can do to help get you prepared. Finally, I hope you will find tasks worthy of your abilities. Confront challenges deserving of your enthusiasm and work to achieve your dreams."

Thursday Night Wreck Claims the Lives of Two Men

May 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two men died in a one car crash Thursday night on Highway 96 (Medley Amonett Road) north of Edgar Evins State Park in DeKalb County near the Putnam County line.

Dead are 54 year old Thomas Carr of Nashville and 32 year old Larry League, Jr. of Smithville.

According to Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Carr was driving a 2004 Hyundai Accent north on the Medley Amonette Road when he failed to properly negotiate a curve because of his speed, left the road to the right and made impact with a rock wall and then hit a large tree. The car then overturned ejecting League, who was not wearing a seatbelt, and partially ejecting Carr, who was restrained in the vehicle. Both died at the scene.

Trooper Jennings, who was called at 9:35 p.m., says a passerby spotted the wreck and called 911.

Trooper Jennings was assisted in the investigation by Officer Johnny Farley of the Tennessee Highway Patrol's Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT).

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene along with members of the Cookeville Highway Station and Extrication Team of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department, DeKalb County EMS, and Medical Examiner Terry Martin.

Trooper Jennings says there was evidence of alcohol and drugs at the crash scene.

The deaths of Carr and League, mark the 6th & 7th traffic fatalities of the year on DeKalb County roads.

Fish signs softball scholarship with Maryville

May 21, 2008

DCHS Tigerette, Kayla Fish, will continue her softball career at Maryville College, next year. The senior made it official on Tuesday, as she signed an athletic scholarship with the East Tennessee school.

Fish will be coached at the four-year program by her brother, Danny Fish, a DCHS alum who just completed his sixth season as head coach of the Scots program. Danny Fish said he believes Kayla will fill a void on his team, and will be a team player, despite the family connection.

"I know it'll be a sister playing for her brother, but it's going to be tough; tougher on her than it will be on me," Fish said. "I like to think of myself being able to differentiate the relationships between brother and sister, and player and coach. Kayla shoud be able to come right in, if she works really hard, and help us out. We lost a couple of outfielders from this season's team, so we'll see what happens."

Fish said academics will also be of the utmost importance, which, Kayla conceded, was one of the factors in her choosing Maryville.

"She's going to be a good student-athlete, which is something we put a great deal of emphasis on at Maryville College," said Fish, who boasts a 100-percent graduation rate during his six-year Maryville tenure. "There's plenty of opportunity for her at Maryville, so we'll see what she makes of that opportunity."

Tigerette coach, Danny Bond, believes Kayla Fish will do well at the next level and wishes his senior the best.

"She's been a class act all the way through," Bond said. "She's been a very dedicated young lady, having played basketball, softball, and worked hard in the classroom. I think she'll be very successful at Maryville. I'm very happy for her and I think she'll be very successful."

Maryville College is an NCAA Division III school, and is a member of the Great South Atlantic Conference. The Lady Scots were 19-19 in 2008, and graduated another former DCHS player, Ashley Redmon, at the conclusion of the season.

DeKalb Middle School Celebrates Student Achievement During 8th Grade Graduation

May 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Members of the 8th grade class at DeKalb Middle School participated in graduation exercises Tuesday morning in the gym.

Nick Winchester, the 2008 Valedictorian at DeKalb County High School, was the guest speaker.

In his remarks to the 8th graders, Winchester urged them to always strive to do their best. " S- set your sights on your goals. T-tackle the obstacles that are in your way. R- reach new heights with every trial you face. I- be innovative with your ideas. V- possess virtuous character and E- endeavor to do great things. Strive to be your very best in everything you do, not just in high school, but in your personal life, your Christian life, and in all other areas of life. Be unique, be ready to accept the challenges that face you in high school. Work hard to meet the goals you and your parents have for you. And by all means, have fun. These next four years will pass by so quickly. You will think you're never going to get there and all of a sudden you're accepting your diploma and throwing your cap in the air. Don't take life too seriously and don't let it slip by you either. Enjoy it, work hard, and play hard. Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game. Good luck and congratulations."

Principal Randy Jennings presented academic awards to students with the highest grade point averages in the eighth grade.

Adam James had the highest GPA at 99.5 followed by Riley Young with a 99.1

Others included:
Whitney England with a GPA of 98.4
Erin Colwell- 98.3
Katie Merriman- 98.1
Lelah Ambrose- 97.6
Victoria Tatrow- 97.2
Johnna Hensley- 97.0
Jessica Garrison- 96.9
Jonathan Edwards- 96.8
Jessica Ball- 96.6
Heather Hughes- 96.1
Alyssa Young-96.1

Bullard Asks City to Help Maintain Bridge on His Property

May 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Smithville man came before the mayor and aldermen Monday night asking that a small narrow bridge accessing his property from Holmes Creek Road, be maintained by the city.

Jamie Bullard of 435 Holmes Creek Road says since the city has to cross the bridge to access public utilities, the city should help him maintain it, even though he and another person own the bridge. "What I've got, basically, is a bridge that my neighbor and I have to maintain. We have to maintain this for the city to cross. All these utilities are on the other side. I've asked the city for four years to help me fix this bridge. The city tells me it's a private bridge, even though your (city) employees cross it. We have a UCHRA van that hauls anywhere from five to ten handicapped children and they cross this bridge. We have the electric company that crosses the bridge. Natural gas (company) crosses the bridge. And we've even got the police officers that cross the bridge. What I'm saying is that I had to buy this access across the bridge. I don't mind the city crossing this bridge for all your utilities, for your man holes, and for everything else. But there's no reason why I should pay for the utilities and pay for a bridge for you to cross, and you don't help me."

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. told Bullard that the city could not legally spend public funds on private property. "You've just said that the bridge is private property, yours and someone else's, Ms Walker's. The city cannot repair or replace a bridge that they don't own."

Bullard said if the city was not willing to help him, then he might not let the city cross the bridge to get to those utilities.

Parsley said the city has easements and Bullard could not refuse the city access. "At some point in time the city acquired an easement, either on paper or by prescriptive rights by the use. Somebody gave it to them (city). Maybe they didn't do the proper documentation but those (easements) were there before you (Bullard) ever moved in. You can't cut the city off from using an easement to maintain that line."

Bullard responded, "The easement that the city uses to get to my water meter was not there prior to my being there. It was put in there since I've been there and I bought that easement."

Parsley asked, "Then you own the easement for the bridge and you're saying you own the bridge, you and this other lady?"

"Yes sir" answered Bullard.

Parsley continued, "Then the city doesn't have a legal obligation to repair that bridge."

Bullard replied, "That's right and I don't have a legal obligation to allow the city to cross my bridge."

Parlsey concluded, "You can't stop the city from maintaining their easement."

Alderman Willie Thomas made a motion that the city conduct some research and revisit the issue at another meeting. Alderman Tonya Sullivan seconded the motion "to research where the city's easement is located and what we have to do to maintain our easement."

Meanwhile Bullard accused Mayor Taft Hendrixson of favoritism. He claims the city did some work in the area and that a relative of the mayor benefitted from it. "I see a lot of special favors being given to a lot of people. Mayor, you just told me that you cleaned out under the bridge on Holmes Creek Road. I looked under that bridge and it is not cleaned out. But what you did was you dug your cousin a new creek and you built it up with gravel."

Mayor Hendrixson denies the allegation. "Those gravels were put on a sewer line that was washed out and being exposed.

Parsley said the state instructed the city to do some clean out work around the Holmes Creek Bridge. "The state sent the city a letter. They (state) had inspected the bridge there and they required the city to keep that clean. The city responded by getting their crew to clean the debris out so it would pass inspection. I believe they also put a load limit on that bridge that was required by the state. They were also required to send a photograph showing that the bridge had been posted and that the debris under it had been cleaned out. So that's the reason that area was cleaned."

State to Set Speed Limits in All DeKalb County School Zones At 25 MPH

May 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

All speed limits in school zones in DeKalb County will be 25 miles per hour by the time school starts again this fall.

Local officials recently made the request of the State Department of Transportation and Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson said Monday night during the city council meeting that TDOT has granted approval.

The school zone on Highway 70 at DeKalb County High School and DeKalb Middle School will go from 15 mph to 25 mph and the school zone on Highway 56 north at Northside Elementary School will be reduced from 30 mph to 25 mph. The school zone at Smithville Elementary School will be changed from 15 mph to 25 mph and will be relocated from Highway 56 south to East Bryant Street.

The school zone at DeKalb West School on Highway 70 at Liberty will remain 25 mph.

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