Local News Articles

Ashli Chew Wins DeKalb County Spelling Bee

February 15, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Ashli Chew, a fourth grader at Northside Elementary School, won the 5th annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee Friday night at DeKalb County High School.

Chew, daughter of Lori and Kelvin Page of Smithville and George and Janna Chew of Murfreesboro, was among more than 30 students from the fourth grade to the eighth grade, who participated in the contest.

She correctly spelled the words "Cedilla" and "Mikado"to claim the championship.

Andrew Cooper, also a fourth grader at Northside Elementary, was the runner-up in the contest. He is the son of Dr. Steven and Martha Cooper of Smithville..

Students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Northside Elementary School recently competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition.

Along with students from thirty nine other counties, Chew and Cooper will represent DeKalb County in the Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee on March 7th at the Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University in Nashville.

The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 25th through May 31st with all expenses paid by the Tennessean Newspaper.

The purpose of the County Wide Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

Briley Makes DeKalb County Court Appearance- Gets 30 Day Suspended Sentence

February 15, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Democratic State Representative Rob Briley of Nashville, former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, appeared in DeKalb County General Sessions Court Thursday and pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.

Briley waived his right to a hearing and entered the plea under a negotiated settlement with prosecutors. Judge Bratten Cook II gave Briley a 30 day suspended sentence and he must pay fines and court costs.

The other charges against Briley, non immediate notification of an accident and following to closely, were dismissed.

Briley was involved a "hit and run" in DeKalb County in September

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said the 40 year old Briley was eastbound on Highway 70 at Dowelltown in a 2005 Nissan Xterra SUV when he rear-ended an eastbound 2007 Chevy Colorado pickup truck, driven by 56 year old John P. Mitchell of McMinnville.

Passengers with Mitchell were 50 year old Janice Mitchell and 9 year old Sabrina Flanagan both of McMinnville.

Briley was traveling alone.

No one was injured in the accident.

According to Mitchell and another witness, Briley made a U-turn in the highway after the collision and fled the scene going west toward Watertown, where he was later pulled over for speeding.

Trooper England says he went to the Wilson County Jail, where Briley was taken after his arrest in Watertown, and issued him citations for failure to give immediate notice of an accident, leaving the scene of an accident, a separate citation for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, and following to closely.

In addition to being charged with evading arrest, Briley allegedly failed three field sobriety tests and was charged with DUI in Wilson County. He also allegedly refused to take a blood or breathalyzer test and was charged with violation of the implied consent law.

The state lawmaker was later charged with vandalism by Wilson County authorities after he allegedly damaged a door to a patrol car by repeatedly kicking the door and window frame as he was being taken to jail.

Briley is still a member of the General Assembly but he stepped down from his chairmanship of the House Judiciary Committee following his arrest.

School Board Takes Up Light Agenda at DeKalb West School

February 14, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Those employed for the 2007-08 school year since last month include:

Alisha Cheatman, Special Education Teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Rebecca Baugh, teacher of English as a Second Language (ESL); Peggy Sutton, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School; Rachel Seal, Educational Assistant at DCHS; Mary Edmonds, Educational Assistant at Northside Elementary School; Elizabeth Nolt and Bryan Jones, substitute teachers; Henry Bumbalough, custodian at Northside Elementary School; W.C. Braswell, part-time adult high school teacher; Brandy Fitts, substitute bus assistant; and Jane Groom, teacher at Northside Elementary School.

Transfers include:

Rebecca Baugh, from English as a Second Language (ESL) to a Special Education teacher position at Northside Elementary School; Dwayne Cornelius to a full time bus driver position; Linda Pack to a full time bus driver position; Pam Sanders was transferred to a Special Education teacher position at DeKalb West School (new position); and Dr. Danielle Collins was transferred to Federal Programs Director.

Juanita Salazar has resigned as bus driver and part- time custodian; Julie Fitts has resigned as bus driver; and Penny Miller has resigned as a Special Education teacher at Northside Elementary School.

The school board met Thursday night at DeKalb West School and member Charlie Robinson says the reason for it was in recognition of the school's recent academic accomplishments. "Our wanting to have this meeting at DeKalb West School is to acknowledge the progress the school has had in meeting the goals and objectives of this board, the state of Tennessee and the Federal No Child Left Behind directives. DeKalb West School received all A's on the state report card and this board wants to thank the students, staff, faculty, and Mr. Parkerson for your focused work and what you have done here at this school."

In other business, Assistant Principal Patrick Cripps, on behalf of Principal Kathy Hendrix, requested a few course changes at DeKalb County High School. "We're requesting that several classes be moved to half credit classes including Keyboarding, Document Design, Economics and Government. Those would be nine week classes in a semester. The hope is to provide more opportunities for our students and to expand their class options. We have also requested to get a History Bible course. We've had several students show an interest in taking this class and we've got teachers that are interested in teaching it. I think it would be a good thing for our History Department."

Director Willoughby added that this class will be solely for the study of Bible History. " We have a curriculum that's already approved by the state for that class. It will be strictly a Bible History Class. We will follow all the guidelines. I think it will be a good offering for our students."

In her letter to the board, Principal Hendrix wrote that "eight other systems in Tennessee offer this Bible course to their students. This class is designed to provide students with an understanding of the Bible and it's influence on History, law, culture, and literature. The course would count as a social studies elective. The State has a textbook that goes with the course. It is an elective course which requires parental permission to enroll."

In addition, Hendrix requested, by letter, for board approval to change Government and Economics and Keyboarding and Document Design to half credit courses which is all that is required by the state for graduation. She says by changing these classes to nine week courses, DCHS can add several new course selections from which students of the county can enroll.

Hendrix further requested, by letter, that the board approve the addition of AP US History to the course selection at DCHS. In the request, Hendrix says if the students at the completion of the course obtain the recommended scores on their AP test, college credit would be given for this course.

Hendrix also asked that Virtual Enterprise International 3757 be added to the list of one credit courses in the Business Technology area at DCHS. She says this is a simulated business environment study in which students will be involved in actual on the job work experiences, including accounting, personal administration, management, and marketing. This course will integrate with various academic courses and link learning to application and real life experiences.

The board adopted all the requested course changes.

In other business, the board approved a request for DeKalb County High School to host the 2008 Junior/Senior Prom at the Stones River Country Club in Murfreesboro on April 18th. The prom is only for DeKalb County High School students and the School Resource Officer (SRO) will also be in attendance.

Director Willoughby also mentioned some new technology that the school system will soon be making use of called "Connect-Ed". "One of the things that's going to be coming and I wanted parents and employees to know about it is "Connect-Ed". We're able to purchase Connect-Ed because of some federal money that we have to use in parent notification and parent communications. Because of this, we will be able to notify parents, such as if there's a school closing or if we were to have to close early, we would be able to notify everyone within about five to seven minutes. In addition to emergency situations, we hope to also use it in a positive way in notifying parents letting them know about things like scholarship nights at the high school and PTO meetings. If we had it in place right now, we could let them know that the spelling bee is still on (scheduled) for Friday night although we will not be having school Friday due to sickness."

In other business, the board approved an overnight trip request for the DCHS Soccer team to attend an invitational tournament at Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport April 11-13 and an an overnight trip request was approved for the Health Occupations Students of America Club to attend a State Conference in Chattanooga March 17-19.

Atnip Arrested A Second Time This Week By Smithville Police

February 14, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A local man, arrested Monday by Smithville Police on theft and drug charges, is in more trouble with law after being arrested again on Tuesday.

Jared Atnip is charged with driving under the influence, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $10,000.

Police also arrested the woman with Atnip, 33 year old Tracy Schunke. She is charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a schedule II controlled substance. Her bond is $5,000.

Both Atnip and Schunke will be in General Sessions Court February 28th.

The arrests were made at Mapco Express by officers Randy King and Matt Farmer.

King's report states that "On Tuesday, February 12th, I was dispatched to Mapco Express on a suspicious vehicle. The vehicle had been BOLO'ed (Be on the Lookout) as a possible DUI."

"Jared Atnip was inside the Mapco Express. I went inside Mapco Express and encountered Mr. Atnip, who exited the business. The cashier alerted me that Mr. Atnip neglected to pay for his beverage. Mr. Atnip was attempting to drive off. I stopped Mr. Atnip and advised him that he needed to pay for his beverage. Mr. Atnip then exited the driver's side. He was very unsteady on his feet. I asked Mr. Atnip if he was under the influence of any alcohol or drugs. He responded that he had not been taking anything. I asked Atnip to consent to field sobriety tasks. He performed poorly on those tasks. I placed Atnip under arrest for DUI."

"Upon a pat search of Atnip, I found a straw with a white residue in his right pocket. Upon the search incident to arrest, I found eight syringes, a spoon, and more straws.'

"After transporting Atnip to the police department, he produced a blue bottle with approximately six small yellow tablets. He tried to take the tablets from the bottle to ingest them. Atnip stated that he was going to take the pills to hide their discovery. Atnip then produced a syringe from the front pocket of his pants."

The report on Schunke states that she was in the vehicle with Atnip when he was arrested for DUI. When Atnip was placed in the patrol unit, she was asked to step out of the vehicle. She exited the vehicle and the officers noticed a needle and syringe in the side compartment of the passenger door. The needle was filled with a yellow liquid substance believed to be dilaudid. In a small purple bag, there were approximately nine syringes and eight straws. Also in the bag were her social security card and the social security card of her son."

Buck Will Not Seek Re-election to 19th Term as State Representative

February 12, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

After 36 years in office, State Representative Frank Buck has announced that he will not seek re-election this year.

In a prepared statement, Buck says "To the people of the 40th Representative District, I wish to announce that I will not seek re-election for a 19th term in the General Assembly. After 18 terms, the re-election percentage in 2006 wasn't much different than it was upon my first election in 1972. After 36 years of service that was a very flattering vote of confidence for which I shall always be flattered and grateful."

"Service in the General Assembly is not an easy job. Your job is to protect the folks back home by bringing home highway and other improvements which entail cooperation with the leadership and administration, but as the income tax and ethics crisis illustrate, both groups at times can act in a very misguided fashion. You want to get along with the powers that be, but there are times when you just cannot overlook what you know to be right and wrong. You must never forget who you are, what you believe in and what you know to be right and wrong."

"During the course of 36 years, I have been everything from the ethical hero to the illegitimate child at the family reunion. But as painful as some of those days were, I have never regretted my role because I knew I was doing right by the people of Tennessee. It is amazing how much respect you gain by ability, being tenacious, and working hard."

"Again, I thank you for permitting me to serve you for 36 years. I have tried to make you proud of the vote you have cast for me over the years."

Last month, three people announced their intentions to seek the Democratic nomination for State Representative during the DeKalb County Democratic Party Mass Meeting held at the high school.

Dean Sircy of Lafayette, Cleveland Derrick Bain of Smithville, and Gayla Hendrix of Smithville say they will be candidates in the August 7th State Democratic Primary.

Since then, fifth district county commissioner Jeff Barrett has filed papers with the election commission, to seek the Democratic nomination for State Representative and Nicky Rittenberry of Lafayette has filed papers to seek the Republican nomination for the office.

The 40th Legislative District is made up of DeKalb, Smith, and Macon Counties.

The qualifying deadline for State Representative (State Primary) is noon on April 3rd.

The State General Election is November 4th.

Shoplifter Complaint at Walmart Results in Two Arrests by Smithville Police

February 12, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police were called to Wal-mart on a shoplifting complaint Monday night and arrested two people.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew says Jared S. Atnip of Smithville was charged with theft under $500, possession of a schedule IV and schedule II controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Lisa Piles, wanted on a worthless check warrant out of Warren County, was also arrested.

Lieutenant Leffew says on Monday night at about 9:02 p.m., Smithville Police Officers Randy King and Brad Tatrow responded to Wal-mart in answer to a shop lifter complaint. Wal-mart employees suspected two females of shoplifting. Officers ran a warrants check on the two women, Lisa Piles and Patsy Estes and learned that Piles was wanted in Warren County for a worthless check, but there was no evidence of shoplifting by either of the women. Piles was taken into custody but Estes was released.

According to Lieutenant Leffew, during the investigation of Piles and Estes, the Wal-mart manager approached the officers and advised that there was another person in the store suspected of shoplifting.

The manager reported that the man, Atnip, had allegedly stuffed some things into his clothing. Lieutenant Leffew says when the officers approached Atnip, they noticed that he appeared to be intoxicated, but he denied having any Wal-mart merchandise on him. Atnip began emptying his pockets and did not produce any merchandise. However, when the officers conducted a pat down search of Atnip, they found some Wal-mart merchandise inside his pants. They also found a syringe, a tourniquet, and a small silver container with pills believed to be Xanax and Dilaudid.

Atnip was taken into custody and charged in the case.

Four Arrested by Sheriff's Department Since Wednesday

February 11, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested four people since last Wednesday on various charges.

41 year old Dwayne Scott Massengail of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville was charged Wednesday with a first offense of driving under the influence.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies received a call on Keltonburg Road and observed Massengail driving. After stopping Massengail, officers noticed a strong smell of alcohol on his person. After performing and failing field sobriety tasks, Massengail was placed under arrest for DUI. His bond was set at $1,500 and his court date is February 21st.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, 22 year old Joshua William Thomas of High Street, Alexandria was arrested on a violation of probation warrant. Thomas is also listed as a sex offender from DeKalb County with a "Homeless" address. Deputies found that Thomas was residing at 105 High Street in Alexandria where he had been staying since November 8th. Sheriff Ray says Thomas was also charged with violation of the sex offender registry for not listing the address where he has been residing. Thomas' bond was set at $11,000 and his court date is set for February 21st.

On Friday, 51 year old Johnny W. Trapp of Arrowhead Drive, Smithville was arrested for a fifth offense of driving under the influence and violation of the habitual motor offender law. Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to a call on Arrowhead Road to investigate a vandalism to a residence where someone had broken out a bedroom window. The victim gave the officers the identity of the suspect and they later spotted his vehicle, stopped it, and found Trapp to be the driver. Deputies noticed a strong smell of alcohol on Trapp's person and asked him to perform field sobriety tasks which he performed poorly. The officers placed Trapp under arrest for a fifth offense of driving under the influence and also charged him with violation of the habitual motor offender law, an offense for which he had been convicted in 2000 in Warren County. Trapp was also charged with vandalism of the window. Trapp's bond was set at $12,500 and his court date is set for February 21st.

On Saturday, 36 year old Micheal Joseph Foster of King Ridge Road, Dowelltown was charged with no driver's license and theft of property over $500. Sheriff Ray says on February 4th, Foster allegedly took $850 from a purse at a residence on Hurricane Ridge Road, Dowelltown. Then on February 7th, Foster was stopped on Gentry Avenue in Smithville for a traffic violation and was found to have no driver's license. Foster's bond was set at $5,000 and his court date is February 21st.

Two Cabins Lost in Saturday Fires

February 10, 2008

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to a reported structure fire around 5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon in a remote area of the county off of Adamson Branch Road in Liberty.

Two cabins, belonging to Walter J. Gordon of Florida, were destroyed but firefighters managed to keep the blaze from reaching three other structures nearby also belonging to Gordon including another cabin, a storage outbuilding, and a three bay garage.

Chief Donny Green says that although the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and DeKalb County Fire Department Main Station responded with pumpers, firefighters could not get equipment to the scene due to the poor access drive that led approximately one mile through a wooded area to the location where not only one, but two cabins were fully involved and threatening three more structures nearby. The fire had also spread into the wooded areas on each side of the steep ridge where the structures were located.

Green says firefighters were able to gain access with the department's brush truck and called for mutual aid assistance from Cannon County's Short Mountain and Eastside Fire Departments who responded with 4 X 4 brush trucks.

Although the two fully involved cabins were totally lost, Green says firefighters did manage to prevent the other three structures from becoming involved. The DeKalb County Fire Department's Wildland Task Force also worked in coordination with the Tennessee Division of Forestry to contain and extinguish the fire.

Chief Green says that in spite of the problem of having very poor access for firefighters and equipment, the department did a great job, working with Tennessee Division of Forestry and Cannon County mutual aid departments, in minimizing the additional potential losses to the other threatened structures and the many acres of woodland that became involved. He says the department located the owner, Walter J. Gordon, who uses this property as a secondary home and has his primary residence in Florida. No one was at the premises at the time of the incident and no one was injured.

Smithville Police Arrest Man for DUI and Simple Possession

February 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police recently arrested a man for impaired driving and found him with an unlabeled prescription bottle containing pills believed to be Xanax.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew says Officer Matt Holmes arrested Steve Hale and charged him with a second offense of driving under the influence and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.

According to Lieutenant Leffew, Officer Holmes responded to Mapco Express to investigate a complaint of a possible impaired driver. Upon arrival, he found a vehicle matching the description and saw the man slumped over the steering wheel. As the officer approached the vehicle, the man sat up and began attempting to place the keys into the ignition, but was unable to do so. Upon speaking to Hale, the officer observed that the man's speech was very slurred and he appeared to be disoriented.

The officer asked Hale to step out of the vehicle and he was asked to perform sobriety tasks. He performed very poorly on all tasks and was arrested for DUI. Upon a pat down of his person, the officer found a pill bottle on Hale containing seventeen and a half small blue pills believed to be Xanax.

Forty One Students to Compete in County Spelling Bee

February 8, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A total of forty one students will be competing during the Fifth Annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee Friday night, February 15th at 6:30 p.m. at DeKalb County High School.

WJLE plans LIVE coverage

Students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Northside Elementary School recently competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition.

Along with students from thirty nine other counties, the first and second place winners in the DeKalb County Spelling Bee will compete in the Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee on March 7th at the Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University in Nashville.

The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 25th through May 31st with all expenses paid by the Tennessean Newspaper.

The purpose of the County Wide Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

Participants in this year's County Wide Spelling Bee are:

Northside Elementary School:

Fourth Grade- Chase Bryant, Ashli Chew, Andrew Cooper, and Caitlin Turner

Fifth Grade- Issac Beck, Brandon Chapman, Haley Davis, Lenzi Dickens, Ashland Dillon, Corey Ferrell, Kelsey Hedge, Justin Johnson, Brandon Leiser, Jeffery Rigsby, Makalee Ruch, Emilee Stephens, and Jacob Washer

DeKalb Middle School:

Sixth Grade- Emily Snow

Seventh Grade- Jessica Acuna, Jacob Parsley, and Martilia Tallent

Eighth Grade- Jesse James, Kallie Mitchell, Kayla Matthews, Destiny Thomas, and Riley Young

DeKalb West School:

Fourth Grade- Morgan Vickers

Fifth Grade- Leah Burchfield, Cason Oakley, Zachary Roberts, and Lydia Trail

Sixth Grade- Courtney Avera, Sarah Hunt, Paige Lohorn, McKenzie Poteete, and Crystal Vickers

Seventh Grade- Casey Alderman, Taylor Leach, and Ashley O'Conner

Eighth Grade-Dylan Freeney and Rachel Goodman

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