Local News Articles

Honor Students Named at DCHS

March 17, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School has released the names of this year's Honor Students including the 2007 Valedictorian Courtney Rhody and the Salutatorian Kendra Adcock.

Both Rhody and Adcock have compiled a 4.0 grade point average.

Other students earning \"Highest Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 include Andrew Moore, Kristen James, Nickole Macy, and Jordan Atnip each with a 4.0; Annica Vettraino 3.9286, Angel Lindsay 3.9259, Zach Davidson 3.9231, Ashleigh Wright 3.9216, Justin Nokes 3.8571, Chris Young 3.8571, Tera Menix 3.8519, and Ashley Rowland 3.8148.

Students earning \"High Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.7999 include Heather Cantrell 3.7778, Joey Driver 3.75, Sarah Fury 3.7083, Thomas Hale 3.7407, Brandon Shaw 3.7308, Rebecca Hendrixson 3.6667, Gwenevere Michaels 3.6607, Chase Tramel 3.6154, Colby Kilgore 3.6111, Brittney Bell 3.6071, Josh Nokes 3.6071, Danny Pirtle 3.6071, and Josh Howe 3.6.

Those earning \"Distinction\" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.5999 include Amy Ashford 3.5556, Tera Campbell 3.5556, Kristina Heriott 3.5357, Kelli Bess 3.52, Kelli Twilla 3.5, Mikey O'Conner 3.5, Tiffany Walls 3.5, Holly Hughes 3.4615, Anna Trapp 3.4444, Billy Fuson 3.3913, Sarah Nunley 3.3750, Roberta Applegate 3.3571, Ashley Burchfield 3.3571, Richard Schilt 3.3571, Ashley McCormick 3.3333, Carolina Noyola 3.3333, Claire Garrett 3.3077, Whitney Maples 3.2857, Kayla Kilgore 3.2593, Jessica Berry 3.2407, Martha Robertson 3.2292, and Jimbo Williams 3.2143.

The Class of 2007 at DeKalb County High School will graduate on Friday, May 18th.

Cabin Home Destroyed In Sunday Fire

March 19, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

A fire Sunday afternoon destroyed the weekend log cabin home of Thomas Trusty at 525 Sweetwater Road.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says Trusty was in the cabin when it caught fire but he escaped unharmed. He was also able to salvage the few personal belonging he kept in the cabin.

Green says the fire was well underway by the time Trusty could get to the nearest phone to report it so firefighters were unable to save the structure. The cabin was also located in a secluded wooded area, several miles of the main road, making it difficult for fire trucks to reach . County firefighters and members of the Tennessee Division of Forestry were able to keep the blaze from spreading.

Green says the fire apparently started from a chimney in the cabin. He says Trusty had a fire going in a wood stove, when the chimney caught fire and spread to the wall.

Members of the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and Short Mountain Highway stations responded along with the Tennessee Division of Forestry.

Smithville Police Make Weekend Arrests For DUI and Public Intoxication

March 20, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Officers were busy over the weekend with DUI and speed enforcement throughout the city. Officers made (4) arrests for DUI, wrote (12) citations for excessive speed and made (2) Public Intoxication arrests.

On Friday, March 16th Smithville Officers arrested 31 year old Alex Shaw Hudgens of 110 Sutton Lane, Ashland City. Chief Thomas Stufano says \"At approximately 2:00 a.m. Hudgens was noticed traveling at a high rate of speed on Highway 70. When Officers approached the driver they could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from him.. Standard sobriety tests were administered with Hudgens performing poorly. He was subsequently arrested for DUI and transported to the DeKalb County Jail and placed under a $1,000 bond.\"

On Saturday, March 17th Smithville Officers saw 26 year old Derek Charles Riggs of 245 Allen Street, Smithville, drive his vehicle at a high rate of speed down Allens Chapel Road. Chief Stufano says \"Upon stopping the vehicle it was readily apparent that Riggs was under the influence of alcohol. Also present in his vehicle was his 6 year old son. Riggs was arrested for DUI, Reckless Endangerment, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon and Unlawful Possession of Drug Paraphernalia. He was booked into the DeKalb County Jail under a $6,000 bond.\"

DUI Enforcement continued on Sunday March 18th with the arrest of 23 year old Esteban Morales Palomo of 13015 West Greenhill Road, McMinnville. He was charged with DUI. Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police spotted Palomo pulling up to a local fast food restaurant at 3:00 a.m. to place an order even though the business had been closed for hours. Upon contact it was apparent that Palomo was intoxicated when Officers smelled a strong odor of alcohol on Palomo's breath as he spoke. Standard sobriety tests were administered and substantiated that the driver was alcohol impaired. Further inspection of the vehicle noted that there were two six packs of empty Corona Beer containers on the back seat. In addition to the DUI charge, Palomo was also charged with No Driver's License and Violation of the Open Container Law. He was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond. Palomo also admitted to being an illegal alien from Mexico.\"

A second arrest for DUI was made at 8:30 a.m. Sunday when Smithville Police were working speed enforcement in the area of Foster Road. Chief Stufano says \" Officer's stopped 26 year old Ramiro Rojas of City Walk Apartments on Bryant Street, Smithville for speeding. Upon contact with Rojas police detected a strong odor of alcohol on his breath. Also observed was an open container of beer sitting in the console of the vehicle. Rojas preformed the field sobriety tests and was found to be very unsteady on his feet. He was placed under arrest for DUI, Driving without a Driver's License, No Insurance and Violation of the Open Container law. He was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond.\"
\"
Also arrested at the same traffic stop was Rojas passenger 26 year old Ernesto Zolang of 225 Bryant Street, Smithville. Chief Stufano says \"At the time of the driver's arrest, Zolang exited the passenger side of the vehicle falling against the truck due to his intoxication. He was arrested for Public Intoxication and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond. Both subjects advised that they were illegal aliens from Mexico.\"

Continued traffic enforcement efforts on March 18th detected a driver known not to have a valid driver's license due to a previous DUI arrest. Smithville Officer's saw 51 year old Charles Earl West of 679 Pine Grove Road, Smithville driving his vehicle on Highway 56 South. Chief Stufano says \"A computer check showed that West's drivers license is currently revoked. He was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $1,000 bond. West's vehicle, a 2006 Suzuki SUV was seized under the state's drug and alcohol forfeiture act.\"

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police are staying constantly vigilant for DUI, Speeder's and suspicious activity within our city limits. Citizen's participation in reporting these safety issues has been extremely beneficial in helping preserve our community's safety. Resident's are encouraged to immediately report any suspicious activity in their neighborhoods and on our roadways! \"

School Board Considers Replacing Cell Phones With Two Way Radios On Buses

November 9, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education is considering the possibility of replacing cell phones on school buses with two way radios.

Technology Director Brad Mullinax and Transportation Supervisor Shane Cook say two way radios would be more reliable and cost effective than cell phones. Cook says around 70% of Tennessee county school systems are already using two way radios and 20% of them are looking into it.

Mullinax presented the proposal to the Board of Education Thursday night. \" Mr. Willoughby asked me toward the beginning of the school year to start to work on this, and to try and get some information regarding installation of a VHF repeater system for the transportation department. The reason for the system is to greatly improve the communications between the schools, the Transportation Director, and the school buses. We probably have about 70% of the county that may be covered by cell phones or maybe not. We have a lot of trouble with communications, getting in touch with school buses, and that type thing

We asked Wireless Solutions of Cookeville to work us up a proposal on a system. We now have a proposal from them but there's two or three steps we need to get approved in order to press forward with this. The first being a site. We have a site on Miller Road, the Genesco water tank, but we don't have formal approval from the City of Smithville. I think they will allow us to base our repeater there at no charge. Once that is done, Wireless Solutions has agreed to prepare the forms for us to obtain an FCC license. This is the next step involved. We will have to submit an application to the Federal Communications Commission to obtain a license for that particular site. This will take from sixty to ninety days. Once the license is obtained, then you can press forward, purchase the repeater, get the repeater on the site, and then over a period of time, you can progressively buy so many radios per year to go on your school buses. This is not something you would have to do all at one time.

Over the long haul I think this is going to save the county several dollars. You're not going to have recurring telephone charges on your cell phones anymore. With a two way radio system, when you purchase it, you own it. I think it would be a fantastic move. I think it would improve your safety. What we have also agreed to do as far as 911 is concerned is have this frequency that we obtain programmed into our radios at the 911 center and in the event there is an emergency situation, we could pick up on that over the air and go ahead and dispatch units accordingly. We could also put a base station at each school so that in the event somebody needed to get in touch with somebody on another school bus, they could radio the school or radio the transportation department so that contact could be made through those means. You can also have simplex frequencies programmed into those radios and they could talk from bus to bus if they are in close proximity. On those, if you're within 10 to 15 miles of a school bus, you don't necessarily have to go through a repeater system, you can go through a talk around channel. You're not going to have perfect coverage, there will be dead areas, but I think the dead areas will greatly be minimized by going with a two way radio system rather than cell phones.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says a new two way radio system could be phased in over a period of time. \" In our Transportation budget, we're going to have some money left over with some decisions we've made in transportation that Shane has implemented, so we'll have some savings. If we don't have enough savings to do everything in one year, we can do it over a two or three year period, if we need to.\"

The board took no action on the issue.

School Board Considers Replacing Cell Phones With Two Way Radios On Buses

November 9, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education is considering the possibility of replacing cell phones on school buses with two way radios.

Technology Director Brad Mullinax and Transportation Supervisor Shane Cook say two way radios would be more reliable and cost effective than cell phones. Cook says around 70% of Tennessee county school systems are already using two way radios and 20% of them are looking into it.

Mullinax presented the proposal to the Board of Education Thursday night. \" Mr. Willoughby asked me toward the beginning of the school year to start to work on this, and to try and get some information regarding installation of a VHF repeater system for the transportation department. The reason for the system is to greatly improve the communications between the schools, the Transportation Director, and the school buses. We probably have about 70% of the county that may be covered by cell phones or maybe not. We have a lot of trouble with communications, getting in touch with school buses, and that type thing.\"

\"We asked Wireless Solutions of Cookeville to work us up a proposal on a system. We now have a proposal from them but there's two or three steps we need to get approved in order to press forward with this. The first being a site. We have a site on Miller Road, the Genesco water tank, but we don't have formal approval from the City of Smithville. I think they will allow us to base our repeater there at no charge. Once that is done, Wireless Solutions has agreed to prepare the forms for us to obtain an FCC license. This is the next step involved. We will have to submit an application to the Federal Communications Commission to obtain a license for that particular site. This will take from sixty to ninety days. Once the license is obtained, then you can press forward, purchase the repeater, get the repeater on the site, and then over a period of time, you can progressively buy so many radios per year to go on your school buses. This is not something you would have to do all at one time. \"

\"Over the long haul I think this is going to save the county several dollars. You're not going to have recurring telephone charges on your cell phones anymore. With a two way radio system, when you purchase it, you own it. I think it would be a fantastic move. I think it would improve your safety. What we have also agreed to do as far as 911 is concerned is have this frequency that we obtain programmed into our radios at the 911 center and in the event there is an emergency situation, we could pick up on that over the air and go ahead and dispatch units accordingly. We could also put a base station at each school so that in the event somebody needed to get in touch with somebody on another school bus, they could radio the school or radio the transportation department so that contact could be made through those means. You can also have simplex frequencies programmed into those radios and they could talk from bus to bus if they are in close proximity. On those, if you're within 10 to 15 miles of a school bus, you don't necessarily have to go through a repeater system, you can go through a talk around channel. You're not going to have perfect coverage, there will be dead areas, but I think the dead areas will greatly be minimized by going with a two way radio system rather than cell phones.\"

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says a new two way radio system could be phased in over a period of time. \" In our Transportation budget, we're going to have some money left over with some decisions we've made in transportation that Shane has implemented, so we'll have some savings. If we don't have enough savings to do everything in one year, we can do it over a two or three year period, if we need to.\"

The board took no action on the issue.

In other business, Director Willoughby presented his monthly written report on personnel.

Those employed since last month include Molly Johnson, Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School; Penelope Miller, teacher at Northside Elementary School; Elizabeth Pafford, teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Misty Franklin, teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Faye Lohorn, substitute cafeteria worker; Jennifer Roller, substitute cafeteria worker; Nathan Cook, substitute mechanic; Ray Robinson, substitute custodian; Gloria Gardner, ESL Educational Assistant; Kelly Driver, part-time Physical Therapy Assistant; Donna Emmons, teacher at DCHS.

Tonya Perry was transferred to a Gifted teacher position.

Those granted a leave of absence as requested were Amy Young, teacher at DeKalb West School; April Hines, teacher at Smithville Elementary School, and Jeanette West, cafeteria worker.

Dewayne Carlton has resigned. Sandy Hays, teacher at DCHS has retired, and Betty Cooper, cafeteria manager at DCHS has resigned.

WJLE Regrets Failure Of Audio Streaming Service During Election Coverage

November 9, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

WJLE would like to express it's regret for the failure of our Internet streaming service during the LIVE radio broadcast of the election returns Tuesday night.

A brief power failure earlier in the day at the radio station caused a disruption in the service and we experienced further problems re-establishing our audio streaming capability over the Internet after the power was restored.

We apologize for the inconvenience.

Smithville Police Make Another Drug Arrest

November 9, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made another drug arrest.

Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano, in a press release, states that Bradley Ferrell of 708 South Mountain Street, Smithville was arrested at approximately 3:20 p.m. Wednesday for sale and delivery of illegal narcotics.

Stufano says \"In a continuing crackdown on illegal drugs in the city, officers working surveillance of a known drug area, witnessed Ferrell making a transaction and then quickly hiding the remaining contraband inside his pants.\"

Upon his arrest, a bottle of illegal pills was discovered in his waistband. Ferrell was booked into the DeKalb County Jail on a $30,000 bond.

Fort Campbell Soldier Says U.S. Presence In Iraq Making A Difference

November 13, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A large crow turned out for a special Veteran's Day recognition program at the courthouse Saturday morning.

The special guest speaker for the occasion was Colonel Thomas Lippart of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Lippart, who has served three tours of duty in Iraq, said the strength of this nation is not in it's weapons, but in it's people. \" This nation is build on it's people. It's not the technology. The United States has always been known for it's great technology but that's not what makes our military great. There's lots of other countries out there that have a lot of technology. It's the people who make us such a powerful nation to deal with.\"

Colonel Lippart says while many still question whether the United States military should be in Iraq, most still support the troops. \"I still believe firmly in my heart that the American people by and large support it's military and are in fact there for us and stand behind us. I returned from Iraq on September 2nd and I've had more people come up to me and say thank you for your service and for what you have done.\"

While most of the news coming out of Iraq seems to be bade, Colonel Lippart says there are a lot of good things happening there too. \"When we first got to Iraq, obviously we had not established a relationship with the local vendor base and were still coming back to the states for most of the supplies we were buying. But the longer we are there, the more we are growing the local economy back. We're starting to do more and more business with the local economy. In fiscal year 2006, our contracting command did about 27,000 contracts and just about half of those were with Iraqi vendors but that's increasing every day. It increased by about 25% when I first got there to nearly 50% when I left, so we're doing more and more business with the economy, with the local businessmen to try to build their economy.\"

Colonel Lippart gave some examples of how the Iraqi people have benefitted from the overthrow of Saddam Heussein. \" In many occasions, some of these Iraqi people, because I was a point of contact, held me responsible for some of the wonderful things that have been happening to them, They were so gracious and so thankful for us being in Iraq and helping them with the good things. I heard stories of how none of the power generation plants and none of the sewage treatment plants had any kind of repairs, modifications, or updates since they were built in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The entire country was in disrepair. There's a small suburb of Baghdad where only as recent as about eight months ago, did we finally get the power generators fixed so that we could get the pumps running to pump the sewage out of the city. There was six inches of sewage running through about a one mile square city area. Imagine your children having to walk through that on their way to school. Because of our engineers, technology and our assistance to show them how to do it, they now have the power generators working again and the pumps are working and they're able to get the sewage out. That's just one small example.

Colonel Lippart says in addition to a stronger economy, educational opportunities are improving in Iraq. \"We've had an opportunity to put new roofs on the schools. The textbooks the students were using were from the 1960's. They never bought new textbooks. These people are so much better off. Young girls are now allowed into the schools again. For a number of years, there were no young girls going to school whatsoever. So while I know that it's a matter of opinion whether you believe we should be there or not, I just wanted to share with you today that we're doing a tremendous amount of good in Iraq and while it's frustrating to see all the bad stuff on TV, we must show them what right looks like. There's an entire generation there that doesn't know what it looks like. They don't know what organization looks like. There were no city councils before. There are now because we've stood them up in all the little towns. They now have organization on how to provide services for their people.\"

Colonel Lippart is a 1989 graduate of Penn State University and later received his Masters degree in Business Administration at the University of Texas. He is a Distinguished Military graduate, having been commissioned into the U.S. Army where he joined the Aviation branch. During 2001-2002, he attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has been the Chief of Contingency Contracting at the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During his service in Iraq, Lippart served as Chief of Plans and Programs Contracting Headquarters for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Colonel Lippart has received numerous medals including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorius Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Medal, Meritorius Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrrorism Expeditionary Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal, among others.

Fort Campbell Soldier Says U.S. Presence In Iraq Making A Difference

November 13, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

A large crowd turned out for a special Veteran's Day recognition program at the courthouse Saturday morning.

The special guest speaker for the occasion was Colonel Thomas Lippart of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Lippart, who has served three tours of duty in Iraq, said the strength of this nation is not in it's weapons, but in it's people. \" This nation is built on it's people. It's not the technology. The United States has always been known for it's great technology but that's not what makes our military great. There's lots of other countries out there that have a lot of technology. It's the people who make us such a powerful nation to deal with.\"

Colonel Lippart said while many still question whether the United States military should be in Iraq, most still support the troops. \"I still believe firmly in my heart that the American people by and large support it's military and are in fact there for us and stand behind us. I returned from Iraq on September 2nd and I've had many people come up to me and say thank you for your service and for what you have done.\"

While most of the news coming out of Iraq seems to be bad, Colonel Lippart said there are a lot of good things happening there too. \"When we first got to Iraq, obviously we had not established a relationship with the local vendor base and were still coming back to the states for most of the supplies we were buying. But the longer we are there, the more we are growing the local economy back. We're starting to do more and more business with the local economy. In fiscal year 2006, our contracting command did about 27,000 contracts and just about half of those were with Iraqi vendors but that's increasing every day. It increased by about 25% when I first got there to nearly 50% when I left, so we're doing more and more business with the economy, with the local businessmen to try to build their economy.\"

Colonel Lippart gave some examples of how the Iraqi people have benefitted from the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. \" On many occasions, some of these Iraqi people, because I was a point of contact, held me responsible for some of the wonderful things that have been happening to them. They were so gracious and so thankful for us being in Iraq and helping them with the good things. I heard stories of how none of the power generation plants and none of the sewage treatment plants had any kind of repairs, modifications, or updates since they were built in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The entire country was in disrepair. There's a small suburb of Baghdad where, only as recent as about eight months ago, did we finally get the power generators fixed so that we could get the pumps running to pump the sewage out of the city. There was six inches of sewage running through about a one mile square city area. Imagine your children having to walk through that on their way to school. Because of our engineers, technology and our assistance to show them how to do it, they now have the power generators working again and the pumps are working and they're able to get the sewage out. That's just one small example.\"

Colonel Lippart says in addition to a stronger economy, educational opportunities are improving in Iraq. \"We've had an opportunity to put new roofs on the schools. The textbooks the students were using were from the 1960's. They never bought new textbooks. These people are so much better off. Young girls are now allowed into the schools again. For a number of years, there were no young girls going to school whatsoever. So while I know that it's a matter of opinion whether you believe we should be there or not, I just wanted to share with you today that we're doing a tremendous amount of good in Iraq and while it's frustrating to see all the bad stuff on TV, we must show them what right looks like. There's an entire generation there that doesn't know what it looks like. They don't know what organization looks like. There were no city councils before, now there are because we've stood them up in all the little towns. They now have organization on how to provide services for their people.\"

Colonel Lippart is a 1989 graduate of Penn State University and later received his Masters degree in Business Administration at the University of Texas. He is a Distinguished Military graduate, having been commissioned into the U.S. Army where he joined the Aviation branch. During 2001-2002, he attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has been the Chief of Contingency Contracting at the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During his service in Iraq, Lippart served as Chief of Plans and Programs Contracting Headquarters for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Colonel Lippart has received numerous medals including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorius Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Medal, Meritorius Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrrorism Expeditionary Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal, among others.

DHS Announces Grant Award For Dowelltown Fire Truck

November 13, 2006
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Fire Administration have announced that Dowelltown has been awarded a $164,650.00 grant from the 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The award will be used to purchase a Class A Pumper and all the necessary equipment. The grant is funded 95% federally or $156,418 with a 5% local match or $8,232.

The new fire truck, when delivered, will be stationed on King Ridge Road at Dowelltown.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed as an opportunity for the United States Congress to work with DHS to enhance basic fire service delivery across the United States. $485 million will be awarded for fiscal year 2006 to nearly 5,000 fire-related organizations nationwide.

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