Local News Articles

Four Arrested By Sheriff's Department In Undercover Drug Investigation

March 12, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

An undercover drug investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department resulted in the arrest of four people on Midway Road Friday night.

30 year old Ronald Jacobsen, his wife 30 year old Tammy Jacobsen, and Kristopher Davis all of 2259 Midway Road, and 25 year old Christina Johnson of Old Stone Court, Lavergne were arrested at the Jacobsen and Davis residence.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a search warrant was executed and served at the residence on Friday night, about 72 hours after an undercover drug buy was made there.

Jacobsen is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid), sale and delivery of a schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone), simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana), and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia including scales, pipes, hemostats, straws, bongs, pill crushers, marijuana grinders, and rolling papers. Bond for Jacobsen is set at $43,000 and he will appear in General Sessions Court March 29th.

Mrs. Jacobsen is charged with criminal conspiracy to sell and deliver a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid), simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (Marijuana), and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is set at $23,000 and she will be in court on the charges March 29th. Sheriff Ray says the conspiracy charge against Mrs. Jacobsen is because she witnessed the dilaudid drug transaction between her husband and the undercover agent.

Johnson is charged with unlawful possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Loratab). Her bond is $3,500 and she will be in court March 29th. Sheriff Ray says Johnson had pills on her person believed to have been Loratab.

Davis was cited for unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says Davis had paraphernalia on him including pipes and a marijuana grinder.

Five children were also in the home from toddler age to pre-teens. Sheriff Ray says because children were present where illegal activity was taking place, the Department of Children's Services was notified.

Sheriff Ray adds that the Jacobsen's are already convicted felons and are not supposed to possess any firearms, but officers found a loaded handgun and two shotguns in the house. He says the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms will be contacted and possible federal charges could be placed against the Jacobsen's for illegal possession of guns.

Eight Candidates In The Race To Fill Three Smithville Alderman Seats

March 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

Eight candidates have qualified to run for alderman in the Smithville Municipal Election on Tuesday, June 19th.

Thursday at noon was the qualifying deadline

Those who have qualified to be on the ballot include Shawn Jacobs, Jerry W. Hutchins' Sr, Tonya Sullivan, Willie Thomas, Todd VanDyne, W.J. (Dub) White, Paul Young, and Aaron Meeks.

Three will be elected.

White, Meeks, and Young are incumbents seeking re-election.

The last day to register to vote in the Smithville election is May 20th.

To vote in the city election, voters must live inside the city limits or they may live elsewhere in DeKalb County and own property within the city limits. The Smithville Charter states the property must be 7500 square feet. Property rights voters must register at the Election Commission office by the registration deadline. Proof of ownership is required.

For more information please contact the Election Commission office.

School Board Names DCHS Theater in honor of Ina Ruth Bess

March 15, 2007
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Board of Education Thursday night voted unanimously to name the Theater at DeKalb County High School in honor of Ina Ruth Bess, who will be retiring at the end of this school year.

Ms. Bess has been an educator since 1948 and much of her career has been at DeKalb County High School, where she has taught and directed class plays over the years.

Meanwhile, DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix has announced that Monday through Friday, March 19th-23rd will be \"Ina Ruth Bess Week\" at DeKalb County High School.

The administration, faculty and staff at the school are planning several special events in honor of Ms. Bess' retirement and are asking for the public to participate.

School officials are planning to put together a book containing notes, cards, pictures, congratulations, etc. for Ms. Bess to enjoy after her retirement. If you would like to send something, please do so in advance and send it to: Mrs. Harriett Cantrell or Dixie Crook, DCHS, 1130 West Broad Street, Smithville, TN 37166. You may also leave it with Ms. Crook at Smithville Food Store, after school hours.

Monday, March 19?Former teachers/retired teachers are urged to visit with Ms. Bess from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Tuesday, March 20?Former Tigerette members are to visit with Ms. Bess from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, March 21?Former students can visit with her from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Thursday, March 22?A reception for DeKalb County teachers, staff, and central office staff will be held in the DCHS cafeteria from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, March 23?An assembly program will be held in the DCHS gym at 9 a.m. and is open to all who would like to attend.

If your schedule will not allow you to visit on a specific day, you may stop by any day during the week to visit with Ms. Bess. When you enter the school, you must sign in at the office. There will be a signature book for you to sign and someone will be there to direct you.

The front row parking spaces near the sidewalk of the school will also be open to the general public next week.

In other school board news from Thursday night, the board approved the Licensure Advancement of Ashley Barnes, David Gash, and Amanda Rhoady and the Tenure status of Ashley Barnes, Tena Davidson, David Gash, Amanda Rhoady, and Melissa Ruch

Director Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel.

Those employed since last month include Penny Smitty, certified substitute teacher and Kenneth Allen, Rachel Church, Betty Fisk, Clayton Moore, Lori Page, Shaundra Smith, Tammy Vanatta, Susan West, Thomas Werling, and Julie Young as substitute teachers.

Those resigning are Deona Thomas, certified substitute teacher, Tracey Baker, educational assistant at Northside Elementary School, Vickey Atnip, educational assistant at Northside Elementary School, and Rachel Bandy, cafeteria worker at DCHS. Ina Ruth Bess, teacher at DCHS, has announced her retirement.

Martha Damon, teacher at DeKalb West School, has been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Those who have been transferred include Angela Lawson, transferred to a full time bus position, Jerry Lawson, transferred to a substitute bus position, Helen Lafever, transferred to a full time cafeteria position, and Cynthia Armour, transferred to a full time cafeteria position.

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.

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