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Hit and Run Driver Rear Ends School Bus-No One Injured

December 7, 2009
Dwayne Page

Someone driving a white van rear-ended a DeKalb County school bus this morning (Monday) on Short Mountain Highway, and then left the scene. No one was injured

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby and Transportation Supervisor Peggy Pursell says the incident occurred around 6:50 a.m.

According to Pursell, Walter Phillips, driving bus #3, had stopped to pick up two children in front of their home when the van came up behind the bus and rear-ended it. The driver of the van then backed up into a driveway and drove away in the opposite direction going toward town.

Pursell says neither the children boarding the bus, nor the bus driver were injured and the bus was not damaged, other than a scratch. No one else was on the bus at the time.

Another bus and driver were used to run the route this morning (Monday) while the accident was being investigated by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Pursell and other school officials were also at the scene.

Campbell Selected for Mid-State Band

December 7, 2009
Britney Campbell

For the fifth year in a row, Britney Campbell, a junior at DeKalb County High School, has been chosen to represent Middle Tennessee in its most prestigious musical ensemble, Tennessee’s Mid-State Band.

On Saturday, December 5th, Britney traveled to McGavok High School in Nashville to audition for Mid-State, which selects its musicians from the Middle Tennessee area based on the students’ level of musical ability. At the senior high level, any 10th – 12th grade student in Middle Tennessee can audition. During the audition process, each student is tested in three general areas of musicianship. Students are asked to perform a prepared piece of music, which is a song that has been rehearsed prior to the audition date. Students are also required to demonstrate their ability in playing scales, a basic pattern of musical notes. They are also tested on sight-reading skills, which displays the ability to perform a song without having to rehearse it.

Among the hundreds of Bb clarinet players in grades ten through twelve who auditioned for this event, Britney placed fourteenth chair in the Gold Band, Mid-State’s top ranking band. There were only three other juniors besides Britney who achieved such an achievement.

In January 2010, all the students who made the Mid-State Bands will rehearse in Murfreesboro. Students will only have a couple days to prepare for a concert, which will be held at Middle Tennessee State University. DeKalb County High School’s Band Director, Jonathan Wright, says, “I heard her audition through the door and she did a wonderful job. She worked really hard for this and put in a lot of hours practicing. I'm glad she did so well. She deserves it!”

Britney is the daughter of Mike Campbell and Kimberly Cox of Smithville. Britney's dad says, "It is such an honor to have such a talented daughter. I am so proud of her for using her God-given talent to its fullest. She gives everything she attempts all she has to give.”

Log on to for more information regarding Tennessee’s Mid-State Bands and performances. You can also find out more information about the DeKalb County Band Program by clicking on

Liberty Christmas Parade Creates Holiday Excitement

December 6, 2009
Dwayne Page
Dowelltown United Methodist Church Wins Liberty Float Competition

The Town of Liberty and Liberty State Bank hosted their annual Christmas Parade Sunday and all those there shared in the fun and excitement. Some won cash and other prizes.

Meteorologist Lelan Statom of NewsChannel5 in Nashville was the Grand Marshal. The parade also featured floats, the DCHS band, horseback riders, vintage automobiles, and Santa Claus among many other attractions.

The Dowelltown United Methodist Church won the float competition and the Liberty United Methodist Church took second place.

Albert and Sue Kelly won the Antique automobile category for their 1978 Pontiac. Chris Hale received second place for his 1952 John Deere..

Among the miscellaneous entries, Justin and Eli Johnson won first place and Howard and Jared Pyles took second place.

(Click here to see more pictures of the Liberty Christmas Parade)

Smithville Christmas Parade Helps Kick Off Festive Season

December 5, 2009
Dwayne Page
First Place Float Covenant Baptist Church
Second Place Float Eagles Flag Football Team
Third Place Float Dowelltown United Methodist Church

The Smithville Christmas Parade helped put folks in a festive mood Saturday afternoon.

As always, the parade featured floats, vintage automobiles, local kings and queens, scouts, horseback riders, the DeKalb County High School Fighting Tiger Band, local law enforcement , firefighters, DeKalb EMS, Rescue Squad, among many other entries. Of course, the highlight of the parade was the appearance of Santa Claus who rode into town on a fire engine tossing candy left and right to everyone along the parade route.

The Covenant Baptist Church won first place in the float competition.

The Eagles Flag Football Team took second place and received the Spirit Award, presented by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

Third Place went to the Dowelltown United Methodist Church Float

The Smithville Parade is sponsored each year by the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department. This year's parade was conducted in tribute to the late Assistant Fire Chief Robert Eller for his 64 years of dedication and service. Mr. Eller recently passed away.

(Click here to see pictures of the Smithville Christmas Parade)

Smithville Man Victim of Robbery at his Home

December 4, 2009
Dwayne Page

A Smithville man was the victim of a robbery Friday morning at his home at 826 Anthony Avenue. Central dispatch received the call at 4:49 a.m.

Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis, in his report, states "I was dispatched to 826 Anthony Avenue in reference to a robbery. Upon my arrival, I made contact with the complainant, W.J. Page who stated that he was going to his garage when an unknown male with a mask and a camouflage coat came out from behind his truck and pointed something at him and stated "give me your money, wallet, watch" or words to that affect. Mr. Page stated that he threw his watch toward him and started running toward his house. Mr. Page stated that the suspect ran toward J.E. Evins Avenue. A search of the area by Sergeant Joey Jones and Deputy Barrett and myself (Davis) could not locate the suspect."

The suspect was described as a male, 5' 9 to 5' 10 inches tall, average build, wearing a mask, a camo jacket, and possibly armed with an unknown type of gun/knife.

Items taken were a Pulsar watch with a silver band. Total value $70.00

Anyone having any information on this or other offenses is urged to contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Meanwhile in other city crime news, Patrolman Travis K Bryant responded to the court room on Thursday morning regarding an intoxicated person. Upon arrival, Officer Bryant saw Jackie Sanders sitting on the front row. He fell asleep several times. The officer made contact Sanders and asked him to step out of the court room. As he was walking out, Sanders appeared to be unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. Sanders stated that he took some medication about 9:30 a.m. His bond was set at $1,000 and his court date is December 17th.

On Sunday, November 29th, Officer Matt Holmes responded to 416 Whaley Street where he met with Brad Johnson who reported a trailer missing. Johnson said he had been working on the house late Saturday night and was sure the trailer had been there as late as midnight. But Johnson said when he returned to the house approximately seven hours later at 7:00 a.m. Sunday morning, he discovered that the trailer was missing. The trailer is black, approximately twelve feet, mesh, with fold up gate and wooden floor. Johnson said the pins in the gate do not match and one of them is longer than the other. He added that when he left, the trailer was full of scrap sheet rock. Witnesses say a maroon dually truck drove by the residence on the day the trailer went missing, arousing suspicion. Johnson said he did not have a serial number belonging to the trailer but would contact police if he found it.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Smithville Police Department Supporting HELP Program with Holiday Food Drive

December 4, 2009
Dwayne Page
Steven Leffew and Wanda Poss

The Smithville Police Department is joining the DeKalb County HELP program in a holiday food drive for needy elderly and physically challenged persons in our community.

If you would like to donate food or make cash donations toward this effort, contact Wanda Poss, HELP program coordinator at 597-7575 or Lieutenant Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210,

Lieutenant Leffew says officers of the police department will help distribute the food to eligible recipients before Christmas.

The HELP program serves the entire county, but the Smithville Police Department will be providing assistance in the city.

Fire Damages Home on R. Arnold Road

December 4, 2009
Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were called to a mobile home at 529 R. Arnold Road Thursday morning.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says the woman who lives there had left home around 7:15 a.m. to take her daughter to school and discovered the fire when she returned about a half hour later. She said flames and smoke were coming out of a back bedroom window. The woman yelled for the neighbors to call for help.

The Keltonburg, Blue Springs, and Short Mountain Highway stations responded along with DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department.

Chief Green says the cause of the fire is undetermined but it apparently started in a back bedroom, which was destroyed. Firefighters were able to save the rest of the home, although there was heat and smoke damage throughout.

UCHRA Serves 10,100 Individuals In DeKalb County

December 3, 2009
UCHRA Officials, County Mayor, and Smithville Mayor

“The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency, DeKalb County Office has provided services to 10,100 individuals with $2.4 million being spent in the County. The UCHRA programs address the needs of all ages and have a positive impact on the residents in DeKalb County,” stated County Executive Mike Foster.

The UCHRA provides services to the residents in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland area through more than 68 programs supported by federal, state, and local dollars. The mission of the Agency is to assist individuals in moving from “dependence to independence.”

“The Agency ‘delivers hope’ to approximately 175,000 individuals, annually, and continuously strives to make each of the Upper Cumberland counties the best place possible to work, live, and retire,” said Phyllis Bennett, Executive Director, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency.

Examples of services provided during the past year to DeKalb County residents include the following: 15,098 nutritional meals were provided through the nutrition program for older persons and other adults with disabilities; and the commodities food program distributed food to 536 eligible individuals to be used to prepare meals at home. Five UCHRA transportation vehicles provided 12,239 trips to over 531 households enabling these individuals to go to the doctor, medical facilities, grocery and drug stores, and other business locations in the County. The fourteen county UCHRA transportation program runs approximately 2,907,645 miles in a given program year with numerous miles traveled transporting DeKalb County residents to and from locations in the county.

“These services are important to the residents of the City of Smithville, especially in the difficult economic situation that we have faced during the past year. The City is fortunate to have a committed, dependable Agency like the UCHRA to provide quality services,” stated Taft Hendrixson, Mayor, City of Smithville.

“The Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency appreciates the work of the City and County officials in DeKalb County, the DeKalb County Advisory Committee for the UCHRA, and the UCHRA DeKalb County office staff. This team of local leaders, interested businesses and citizens makes it possible to provide quality services to the residents of DeKalb County,” stated Phyllis Bennett.

For further information about services available through the Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency please contact UCHRA’s DeKalb County office located at 527 West Main Street in Smithville.

CUTLINE: Pictured from left to right are Phyllis Bennett, UCHRA Executive Director; Mike Foster, DeKalb County Executive, Chairman of the UCHRA Child & Youth Development Committee, UCHRA DeKalb County Advisory Board Chairman & Former Chairman of the UCHRA Board of Directors; Taft Hendrixson, Mayor of Smithville & Member of the UCHRA Board of Directors; and Mitzi Bradford, UCHRA DeKalb County Coordinator.

Two Indicted by Grand Jury for Aggravated Robbery of Dollar General Store

December 3, 2009
Dwayne Page
Jacob Gadberry
Nina Sullivan

A man and a woman, charged in an armed robbery at the Dollar General Store on South Congress Boulevard on September 15th have been indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury.

28 year old Jacob Gadberry and 24 year old Nina Sullivan both of Toad Road, Dowelltown, arrested by Smithville Police, are each indicted on one count of aggravated robbery and criminal impersonation. They will appear for arraignment in criminal court on December 14th at 9:00 a.m.

According to Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis' report, Sullivan entered the store around 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday, September 15th and asked to use the restroom. After she left, Gadberry came in the store, opened an office door where the manager was counting money, and ordered her at knife point to open the safe where he took more than three thousand dollars and left the store. No one was injured.

Shortly after the robbery, county deputies Chris McMillen and Steven Barrett stopped a 1991 Nissan at Walnut and North Mountain Street, where the two suspects were taken into custody.

Officer Davis' actual report states as follows:" I was dispatched to 513 South Congress (Dollar General Store) in reference to a robbery. Upon my arrival, I made contact with the witness who advised that the suspects were a white male wearing an orange Tennessee shirt, and a white female who was driving an older model red Nissan."

The defendant (Sullivan) opened the door where management was counting money and asked if she could use the bathroom. The witness, Dawn Allen, stated "yes" and the defendant (Sullivan) went to the bathroom. Ms. Allen stated that a few minutes later the male suspect (Gadberry) yanked open the door and had an open utility tool knife and stated " open the safe, don't hit the alarm or be stupid, get back into the chair". The suspect then took a blue and red money bag from the safe and fled the store."

County deputies McMillen and Barrett, who were apparently at the jail at the time, heard the radio traffic and saw a vehicle fitting the description driving around the public square the wrong way. They pulled the car over at the intersection of Walnut and North Mountain Street

Officer Davis' report states that "the suspects vehicle had money thrown inside the floor board and some of it was stuffed under the passengers seat. Once both suspects were removed from the vehicle, Sullivan was placed into Sergeant Joey Jones' patrol car where she attempted to hide money taken from the robbery. The amount of the money taken in the robbery is estimated at $3,011. The money was recovered in the suspects' vehicle and placed into the evidence room. At 11:59 p.m., I was attempting to locate the money bags that were taken during the robbery. I located the money bags at 201 South Third Street. These items were placed into evidence. "

Jamie Winkler Announces Candidacy for State Representative

December 3, 2009
Jamie Winkler

Calling for action to create jobs, improve education and strengthen the economy, Jamie Winkler, a Carthage native, today announced he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the State House of Representatives District 40 serving Dekalb, Macon, and Smith Counties.

"It's time our representatives paid attention to what the people of our District need and that means it's time we had stronger leadership and better representation in Nashville. I'll take on the real problems facing our families and find solutions to create jobs, improve education, and grow our economy, starting with improvements to the critical lifeline that serves our economy, our roads and bridges," said Winkler. "The state budget is tightening and it must be managed without placing more burdens on already struggling working families." The District 40 seat is presently held by Terri Lynn Weaver.

"Issues critical to our families are not getting the attention or action they need. Jobs are leaving our communities at a pace we've never seen before. Bankruptcies are rising dramatically, hurting lenders and ruining personal credit. Job losses are splitting families apart. Students and teachers, who are key to our future, need our utmost support. Bridges providing essential links between our communities are closed or on the verge of closing," said Winkler, who was born and raised in Smith County, where he and his wife, Amber, are raising their son, Jack. Winkler worked on his family's cattle and tobacco farm, graduated from Smith County High School, The University of Tennessee and The University of Tennessee College of Law.

"These are problems we see and we struggle with every day but there's no sign our leaders see these problems or understand the struggle. Solutions are ignored for pure politics or unrealistic ideals," Winkler said. "The hard-working people of this District deserve better. I'm committed to the families and businesses who are the strength of our communities. We need a common sense approach to the complex problems we face. During this campaign, I look forward to talking with you and hearing more from you as we work together to make a difference and deal with these challenges."

Winkler is an attorney with Bellar & Winkler in Carthage engaging in a general civil and business legal practice and represents various governmental entities. Mr. Winkler serves as Sunday school superintendent and teaches the adult Sunday school class at Mt. Tabor Missionary Baptist Church in Pleasant Shade, Tenn., where he has been a member for twenty-two (22) years. He sits on the board of the Smith County Help Center and is a Rotary member.


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