Local News Articles

Latest Census Estimates Show DeKalb County with 5.8% Population Growth Since 2000

April 1, 2008
Dwayne Page

The latest population estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau show that DeKalb County has grown at a rate of 5.8% since the year 2000.

Henry Bowman, an analyst of the Upper Cumberland Development District, told WJLE Monday that the 2007 estimates put the DeKalb County population at 18,436. "That compares to 17, 423 in the official 2000 Census which represents a growth of 1,013 people or 5.8%. That's a little below average for the Upper Cumberland Region, but the region's population is affected a lot by Cumberland and Putnam County, which have shown very rapid growth. I would say that DeKalb County's population estimate is a little understated. I suspect the Census will turn up more people than that. Of course, you have a situation in DeKalb County and Cumberland County too, where you have a lot of people who don't live there year round. They may be residents part of the year and not other parts of the year so that makes it a little bit trickier to estimate. Cumberland County is primarily being driven by the retirement communities as far as we can tell, such as Fairfield Glade, Tansi, and places like that. Those populations have been increasing very rapidly and so is the population of the county (Cumberland) as a whole. As a matter of fact, I would guess that it's probably a little more than what they've estimated here."

Bowman added that these are just estimates, not actual numbers, and are compiled by the Census Bureau based on various sources. "They look at several factors. First of all they control it from the top down. They start with the national population and then they estimate the state population, then they estimate the county population. They look at things like Medicare recipients to count the 65 plus population. Then they look at income tax returns to check the number of dependants claimed on those returns to estimate the zero to 64 population. They also look at things like births and deaths, which they have at the county level. Then they crunch all that through a model to come up with the estimates."

Putnam County has the largest population of any county in the Upper Cumberland Region. The 2007 estimate of Putnam's population is 69,916, up by 7,601, or 12.2 percent, from the total of 62,315 recorded in 2000.

Cumberland County's total estimated population in 2007 was 53,040, up by 13.3 percent from 46,802 in 2000.

2007 population estimates for the other Upper Cumberland counties are as follows: Warren, 39,690; White, 24,895; Macon, 21,561; Overton, 20,975; Smith, 18,845; Fentress, 17,420; Cannon, 13,432; Jackson, 10,791; Clay, 7,870; Van Buren, 5,437; Pickett, 4,762.

The region's total population as of 2007 is estimated at 327,070, up by 22,072, or 7.2 percent, since 2000.

The next official Census will be conducted in the year 2010.

Judge Hands Down Modified Sentence in Carter Case

March 31, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Criminal Court Judge Leon Burns, Jr. handed down a modified sentence in the statutory rape case against Gary Carter Monday.

Carter will report to the county jail Tuesday to begin serving time on one count of statutory rape involving a female, who was 17 years old and only a few months shy of turning 18 when the incident allegedly occurred.

Under terms of the sentence, Carter will serve a straight 30 days beginning April 1st. He will then serve on weekends from May through December. Beginning January 1st, 2009, Carter will serve another 30 days straight. His case will then be placed back on the docket for further review.

Judge Burns, in September 2006, sentenced Carter to two years to be served in split confinement with nine months incarceration followed by four years probation, after Carter entered a guilty plea in the case.

Carter later appealed the sentence seeking full probation.

In a February decision, the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals upheld the trial court's denial of judicial diversion and full probation but ruled that "the trial court erred in the imposition of nine months of incarceration."

According to the higher court, "The period of time ordered to be served in split confinement cannot exceed the defendant's release eligibility date. The release eligibility date for a Range I standard offender receiving a two year sentence is 7.2 months less certain sentence credits. The case was remanded back to the trial court for re-sentencing.

Meanwhile, in other court news Monday, 40 year old Alton David Estes entered a no contest plea to burglary and three counts of theft under $500.

He received a three year sentence to serve 90 days in the burglary case and 11 months and 29 days to serve 90 days in each of the theft cases, all to run concurrently. Estes must pay restitution of $2,150 to one of the victims in the case and restitution to another victim in an amount to be determined later. He must also perform 100 hours of community service work. Estes will report to jail April 30th. He was given credit for 52 days of jail time already served.

32 year old Russell Allen Blackwell pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a four year sentence to serve six months in each case and then he will be on Department of Corrections Probation supervised by Community Corrections. The cases are to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a violation of probation against him in another case.

Blackwell must make restitution of $210, pay a $2,000 fine, and perform 100 hours of community service work. He was given credit for 28 days of jail time served.

33 year old Jason Douglas Campbell pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance and received a three year sentence, suspended to time served and probation. He must pay a $2,000 fine and make restitution of $50. Campbell must also perform 100 hours of community service work. He was given credit for 31 days of jail time served.

26 year old Jason Wayne Judd pleaded guilty to theft under $500 and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentence is to run concurrent with a White County case against him. Judd must make restitution of $828.30 and perform 50 hours of community service work.

60 year old Harold Gene Blackwell pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a four year sentence to serve four months in each case and then be on TDOC probation. Fines were waived but he must make $210 restitution. The cases are to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to any General Sessions court case against him. Blackwell is to report to jail April 4th.

Counterfeit Operation Broken up by Sheriff's Department and Smithville Police

March 31, 2008
Dwayne Page

A joint investigation into a counterfeiting operation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and the Smithville Police Department has led to the arrest of three people.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 23 year old Megan Ann Lann and her boyfriend, 27 year old Samer Walid Abdalla both of Pine Grove Road, Smithville are each charged with the forging or counterfeiting of instruments or currency.

They are accused of producing at least $800 to $1,000 in counterfeit $10 and $20 bills on a desk and laptop computer and printer in their home and then passing some of those bills at local and area businesses.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins' Jr. says the Smithville Police Department has also charged Lann and 22 year old Jason Ryan Chapman of 212 North Mill Street, Dowelltown with passing counterfeit bank bills as currency.

Chapman, an employee of Walmart in Smithville, could be seen on a videotape from the store's surveillance camera , along with Lann, making purchases at Walmart with some of the counterfeit money.

Bond for Abdalla is set at $50,000; $15,000 for Lann; and $20,000 for Chapman.

All are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on the charges April 24th.

Sheriff Ray and Detective Sergeant Hutchins say counterfeit bills have shown up at several businesses in recent days, including Walmart, McDonald's, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Mapco Express, Jewel's Market, Subway, and the BP station on West Broad Street. Hutchins says the bills have no water marks or bar codes and some were not cut squarely. The bills also have some of the same serial numbers.

There have also been reports of counterfeit bills showing up in Smith and Putnam counties which may be related to this case.

Sheriff Ray says local authorities got a break in the investigation last week when someone phoned in a tip identifying Lann as a possible suspect. "We had a tip from somebody who called in and said Lann was the one who was manufacturing the money. I contacted Jerry (Hutchins) and told him and we went and picked up Chapman (a friend of Lann) and brought him up to the jail for questioning. After questioning Chapman, we went out to Pine Grove Road and picked up Megan and her boyfriend, Abdalla. We confiscated a lap top computer, a desk computer and printer. We also found in the house, pieces of paper that was cut out about the size of a bill. You could actually see on the bottom where they didn't cut it just exactly straight. They cut off some of the bill. We came back, questioned them and all three of them gave statements."

According to Sheriff Ray, both Abdalla and Lann were involved in manufacturing the counterfeit bills. "He was the one who did most of the printing. He took a 20 bill, stuck it in a printer and used a certain kind of paper, found out how easy it was and then they (Abdalla and Lann) passed some of it, just to see if they could. We didn't find any (phony bills) on them but in their statements, they told us they made somewhere between $800 and $1,000 worth of the fake money. They had printed quite a few $20 bills and some $10's."

Detective Sergeant Hutchins says a videotape from a Walmart security camera also assisted in solving the case. "On March 21st a patrol officer responded to Walmart in reference to counterfeit money showing up. The case was assigned to me and I received the videotape from the manager of Walmart that shows an employee, Jason Chapman basically passing $40 in counterfeit currency to purchase items there. It also shows Mr. Chapman, Ms. Lann, and Mr. Abdalla entering the store together. It showed Ms. Lann purchasing items and paying for them with approximately $240 dollars in counterfeit currency. I developed a lead in the city and he (Sheriff) had some tips in the county he had come up with and we put our information together and was able to resolve the case."

Chapman is charged with two counts of passing counterfeit bank bills as currency. In one case on March 21st, he allegedly made purchases at Walmart using fake bills. In the second case on March 25th, Chapman allegedly used phony money to purchase some items from a private citizen.

Lann allegedly purchased a DVD player from the Walmart store in Smithville using counterfeit bills. Abdalla later took the DVD player to the Walmart store in McMinnville and exchanged it for cash. McMinnville Police are investigating that case and may bring charges there against Abdalla.

Both Sheriff Ray and Detective Sergeant Hutchins say about $400 in counterfeit bills have been confiscated but a lot more could be out there "floating around."

According to Sheriff Ray, some people are innocently carrying some of the counterfeits "I have had some calls from people who have either gone to a business to let them check their money because they heard there was a bunch of (fake) 20's going around or some innocent people have tried to pass $20 bills at stores for whatever they got there and found the bills to be fake when they were checked."

Sheriff Ray adds that one local person, who recently dined out at Cheddars in Cookeville, made payment for his meal and discovered that some of the change he got back was apparently counterfeit. "When he went to buy something at a local store, they checked the bill and it was fake. He then let them check all the bills. He later called and told me he had got some of this fake money at Cheddars. He went to eat there, he gave them money, they gave him back change, and it was fake."

Business owners and operators are urged to check all $20 and $10 bills and report any counterfeit bills to the Sheriff's Department or Smithville Police Department.

More arrests and charges may be forthcoming.

Three Arrested by Sheriff's Department in Recent Theft Investigations

March 31, 2008
Dwayne Page

Three people were arrested Saturday by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department as the result of recent theft investigations.

24 year old Warren Brandon Glasby of Poss Road was charged with criminal trespassing, vandalism and theft of property over $500.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Glasby went to a farm on Pumpkin Hollow Road, Dowelltown on Thursday, March 20th and entered the property without the owners consent. While there Glasby allegedly stole a 1985 Mercury Marquis and also hit an outbuilding with his vehicle causing damage to the structure.

Meanwhile, Glasby and two other people, 31 year old Ernest Edward Hill of Chumney Hollow Road, Watertown and 29 year old Amy Renee Ford of Holmes Gap Road, Brush Creek have been arrested for stealing items at a residence on Adamson Branch in Road Liberty on Wednesday, March 19th.

County detectives claim that Glasby, Hill, and Ford went to a residence on Adamson Branch Road and took two long guns, a chainsaw, an air compressor, set of cutting torches, generator, welder, and a cab off of a pickup truck.

Ford was charged in that case with theft of property over $1,000 and simple possession of marijuana. Sheriff Ray says deputies found a marijuana cigarette when Ford was arrested and she claims it belonged to her. Ford's total bond was set at $7,500 and her court date is April 24th.

Hill was charged with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Hill's total bond was set at $75,000 and his court date is April 24th.

Glasby was charged in this case with aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Glasby's total bond was set at $120,000 and his court date is set for April 24th.

Also on Saturday, deputies arrested 25 year old Charles Michael Blanchfield of Nashville Highway, Dowelltown.

Sheriff Ray says an officer stopped Blanchfield knowing he had a revoked driver's license. While attempting to stop him, the officer noticed that Blanchfield swapped positions with a passenger of his vehicle. After the deputy got the vehicle stopped, Blanchfield admitted to being the driver. Upon searching Blanchfield, officers found a small amount of marijuana in Blanchfield's billfold. He was charged with a first offense of driving on a revoked driver's license and simple possession of marijuana. Blanchfield's total bond was set at $3,000 and his court date is April 17th.

56 year old Charles Thomas Reeder of High Street, Alexandria was arrested Saturday for simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Valium).

Sheriff Ray says deputies found Reeder and a female sitting in a vehicle on Circle Drive in Dowelltown. After consent to search was obtained, the officers found 20 pills in an unmarked prescription bottle believed to be Valium. Reeder was arrested and his bond was set at $3,500. Reeder's court date April 17th.

Reagan and Rhody Named Junior Mister & Miss DeKalb County

March 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

14 year old Cora Beth Rhody is the 2008 Junior Miss DeKalb County.

Rhody, daughter of Kenny and Beth Rhody of Smithville, was chosen from among forty contestants for the crown Saturday night during the annual Spring Blossom Pageant sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club. The event was held at the high school gym.

Rhody succeeds the 2007 Junior Miss, Heather Marie Hughes, the 14 year old daughter of Shawnn Meadows and Mike Hughes of Smithville.

Meanwhile 14 year old Dylan Reagan of Smithville was selected from a field of seven boys as the Junior Mister DeKalb County. He is the son of Jim and Penny King of Smithville. Reagan succeeds the retiring Junior Mister, 15 year old Chris Byrd, son of Rhonda Perez and Lee Byrd.

The First runner-up in the Junior Mister category was Billy Clinton Tiner, the 15 year old son of Jeffery and Shelia Tiner of Smithville.

First runner-up in the Junior Miss Pageant was 12 year old Glenna Carlene Beaty, daughter of Kimberly Griffin and Phillip Beaty of Smithville.

14 year old Jasmine Marie Dimas of Smithville was named Second runner-up. She is the daughter of Lynda Hamilton and Refugio Dimas.

Third runner-up was 14 year old Katelyn Louann Goodwin of Smithville, daughter of Joey and Kathy Goodwin.

13 year old Ashlee Michelle Whitehead was Fourth runner-up. She is the daughter of Kenneth and Tina Whitehead of Smithville.

Rounding out the top ten were 14 year old Brooke Knight Luna, daughter of Debbie Luna and Tony Luna of Indian Mound Road; 11 year old Taneah Cantrell of Smithville, daughter of Scott and Tammy Cantrell; 13 year old Chelsea Alia Lewis, daughter of Jimmy and Gina Lewis of Smithville; 13 year old Sydney Jayann Robinson, daughter of Charles and Rita Robinson of Liberty; and 13 year old Victoria Dawn Tatrow of Smithville, daughter of the late Shanna Tatrow. She is in the care of Corey and Vickie Funk.

12 year old Joey Stephen Howell and 11 year old Kerigan Sanders, both of Smithville, were named Mister and Miss Congeniality.

Howell is the son of Michelle Smith and Joey Howell and Sanders is the daughter of Larry and Melissa Knowles.

Emma Brooke Jennings Crowned Little Miss

March 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

Emma Brooke Jennings was crowned Little Miss DeKalb County Saturday at the Spring Blossom Pageant sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

Jennings, the four year old daughter of Chad and Shelly Jennings of Smithville, was among fourteen contestants in the pageant.

She succeeds the retiring Little Miss, Deering Grace Hendrixson, the six year old daughter of Tiffany Hill Hendrixson and Darbie Hendrixson.

The First runner-up in the Little Miss pageant was Presley Suzanne Agee, the five year old daughter of Michael and Kelly Agee of Smithville.

Second runner-up was Julia Grace Curtis, the six year old daughter of Bruce and Amy Curtis of Smithville.

Alannah Rose Musick Morris was the Third runner-up. She is the six year old daughter of Celena Musick and Grover Morris of Smithville.

Six year old Madison Faith Whitehead of Smithville, daughter of Kenneth and Tina Whitehead, was named Fourth runner–up.

Rounding out the top ten were Alexis Grace Atnip, the five year old daughter of Barry and Veronica Atnip of Smithville; Shawnta Rose Koegler, the six year old daughter of Brian and Leticia Koegler of Smithville; Madison Rae Rackley, the four year old daughter of Gordon and Jessica Rackley of Smithville; Morrisa Keenan, the five year old daughter of Amber Keenan and Scotty Knowles of Smithville; and Katherine Grace Colwell, the four year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville.

Hannah Elizabeth McBride was named Little Miss Manners. She is the five year old daughter of Anthony and Danielle Carr of Smithville.

Meanwhile, the retiring Little Mister DeKalb County is Triston Bailey Stanley . He is the six year old son of Kym Curtis and Steve Stanley. No Little Mister contest was held Saturday.

Sheriff's Department Makes Two Drug Arrests in Dowelltown

March 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested two men on drug charges Thursday while answering a complaint call in Dowelltown.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 36 year old Charles Reynolds of Wilson Hollow Road, Liberty is charged with simple possession of marijuana, driving on a suspended driver's license, and conspiracy to possess a schedule VI drug (marijuana) while 49 year old Randy Mitchell Hobbs of North Mill Street, Dowelltown is charged with possession of a schedule VI drug (over ½ a pound of marijuana), possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone), possession of drug paraphernalia (rolling papers), and evading arrest.

Sheriff Ray says detectives attempted to stop Reynolds and Hobbs in an automobile at Dowelltown after a complaint was made about them. Reynolds, who was the driver of a 1989 Nissan Maxima, pulled into Hobbs' driveway. Hobbs, a passenger, got out of the car and tried to outrun the detectives on foot. Hobbs was holding in his hands a yellow sweat shirt. After a short foot pursuit, detectives caught Hobbs and found over a ½ of a pound of marijuana wrapped in the yellow sweat shirt. Also found on Hobbs were 10- ten milligram Hydocodone pills and rolling papers. Detectives further found marijuana cigarettes in Reynolds' vehicle.

Total bond for Reynolds was set at $13,000 and his 1989 Nissan Maxima and cash were seized.

Hobbs' bond was set at $81,500 and his cash was seized. Both Reynolds and Hobbs will appear in court on April 10th.

Detectives called in the Department of Revenue "Drug Tax" unit which levied taxes on the drugs that were found.

Meanwhile, in other cases, 22 year old Joshua Joel Bain of Kendra Drive, Smithville was charged Tuesday with a first offense of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident.

Sheriff Ray says Bain was at a business on Highway 70 East when he allegedly hit two vehicles in the parking lot. People at the business got a description of the vehicle and deputies spotted it on Gentry Avenue. Bain was the driver. Deputies noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Bain's person and he was unsteady on his feet. After failing sobriety tasks, Bain was placed under arrest. His bond is $4,000 and he will be in court on April 17th.

Also on Tuesday, 36 year old David Eugene Driver of Arrowhead Drive, Smithville was charged with a sixth offense of driving on a revoked license and violation of the habitual offender law.

Sheriff Ray says deputies stopped Driver on Highway 56 South because they had prior knowledge of Driver having a revoked license. He was convicted of being a habitual motor offender in December, 2004 in Cannon County. Driver was arrested and his 1985 Dodge Pickup was also seized. Bond for Driver was set a $15,000 and he will appear in court on April 17th.

DeKalb County Jobless Rate Up to 5.4% in February

March 28, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for February was 5.4%, up from 5.2% in January and 4.6% in February, 2007

The DeKalb County Labor Force for February was 10,340. A total of 9,780 were employed and 560 were unemployed.

Meanwhile Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February was 5.3 percent, 0.4 percent higher than the January rate of 4.9 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of February was 4.8 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for February show that 82 counties increased. The rate decreased in seven counties and remained the same in six counties. County unemployment rates are not seasonally adjusted and therefore reflect seasonal expansions and layoffs that occur during the year. The state and U.S. unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to eliminate normal seasonal fluctuations and to indicate a more accurate measurement of actual economic change.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.9 percent. Perry County had the state's highest at 11.6 percent..

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 4.3 percent. Davidson County was 4.5 percent. Hamilton County was at 4.6 percent and Shelby County was 5.9 percent.

DeKalb County Agencies Provide Food, Shelter with $11,446 FEMA Grant

March 27, 2008

An $11,446 Federal Emergency Management Agency grant will help agencies in DeKalb County to better feed and shelter the county's hungry and homeless, US. Representative Bart Gordon said.

"For 25 years, Congress has funded FEMA's Emergency Food and Shelter Program to help social service agencies in more than 2,500 cities and counties nationwide, " Gordon said. "These funds are used to supplement food, shelter, rent, mortgage and utility assistance programs for people with non-disaster related emergencies,"

FEMA awards the grants to nonprofit community and government organizations that are chosen by local boards. The board is composed of local agencies, the county mayor and others. Nonprofit organizations apply to the board for EFSP funds. The DeKalb County Mayor's office will administer the funds this year.

"We receive calls daily from people needing assistance. We are very grateful for these funds. We wish we were able to help more people, "Kristie Miller, DeKalb County Mayor office manager, said.

Last year, EFSP funds were used to provide 2,000 meals and to help 26 individuals in DeKalb County with utilities and rent.

Former Local Manager of World Finance Corporation Charged with Forgery

March 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

A former local manager of World Finance Corporation and Tax Service has been charged with nine counts of forgery.

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings and Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. say 37 year old Linda Ann Jones of 115 Middle Drive, Sparta is accused of making false loans and forging signatures on official loan documents while she was manager of World Finance in Smithville.

Her bond is $22,500 and her court date is April 24th.

Meanwhile, 23 year old Nickey Eudene Reece, Jr of South Fork Apartments on Miller Road is charged with one count of aggravated robbery and one count of possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Hydrocodone) while a co-defendant, 36 year old Christopher B. Pack of Evins Mill Road is charged with aggravated assault and aggravated robbery.

According to Chief Jennings and Detective Sergeant Hutchins', Reece and Pack allegedly assaulted and robbed a neighbor at the apartment complex on Saturday, taking $4,000 in cash.

The victim told police that the men grabbed him, threw him down, and began hitting and kicking him. He said Reece also threatened him claiming he was carrying a gun, although he never produced a weapon.

The victim was not seriously injured in the assault.

Meanwhile during the search, incident to arrest, officers found seven white pills believed to be Hydrocodone, which were loose in Reece's pocket. Reece had no prescription for the pills.

Reece was picked up by police Wednesday and Pack turned himself into the police later in the day.

Reece's bond is $30,000 and bond for Pack is $50,000. Both will be in court April 24th.

In another case, 36 year old Michael Joseph Foster of 191 King Ridge Road was charged Wednesday with one count of theft under $500 and one count of forgery.

Chief Jennings and Detective Sergeant Hutchins' say Foster, while at the residence of the victim in the case, took checks from the home on February 13th and forged one of the checks in the amount of $186.56 made out to Cell Plus for payment of a Verizon cell phone which he later sold for cash. The police department has recovered the cell phone.

Foster's bond is $7,500 and he will be in court on the charges April 24th.

51 year old Johnny Wayne Trapp of 235 Arrow Head Drive was charged Wednesday with hindering secured creditors.

According to Chief Jennings and Detective Sergeant Hutchins, Trapp had a loan on a 1981 International tractor at Tennessee Credit with the tractor as collateral but he sold and transferred the tractor without paying off his loan. Tennessee Credit had a UCC lien filed with the state on this tractor with a loan balance of $5,115.

Trapp's bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on the charge April 24th.


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