Local News Articles

DeKalb County Wins Battle of the Cats at Macon County 35-7

October 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers defeated the Macon County Tigers 35 to 7 at Lafayette Thursday night to conclude the regular football season at 8-2 overall and 4-2 in Region 4-3A.

DeKalb County will enter the TSSAA playoffs next week. The Tigers will travel to either McMinn Central or Chattanooga Howard. Those two teams play Friday night for the Region 3-3A championship.

Macon County, meanwhile, concludes their season with a 1-9 record, 1-5 in region play.

Neither team got on the board in the first period and the only score in the second quarter came with 24 seconds left before half time as Nick Lester caught a four yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hunter Poteete to give DeKalb County a 7-0 lead after Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T.

That was the half time score.

DeKalb County got the ball to start the third period and marched 75 yards for another score. Quarterback Hunter Poteete found Abram Edwards on a 24 yard touchdown pass play. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T and with 9:15 left in the third quarter, the Tigers led 14-0.

After stopping Macon County on a fourth down play at the DeKalb 12 yard line, the Black and Gold Tigers moved 88 yards in two plays to score their third touchdown of the night. Quarterback Hunter Poteete raced 63 yards on the first play in the drive and Matthew Lawrence went the rest of the way on the second play, scoring on a 25 yard touchdown run with 3:41 left in the third period. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County led 21-0.

That was the score at the end of the third period.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, DeKalb County scored their fourth touchdown on a nine yard quarterback keeper by Hunter Poteete. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb led 28-0 with 11:54 left in the game.

After getting the ball back on a turnover, the Tigers scored again, this time on a 24 yard pass play from quarterback Hunter Poteete to Abram Edwards. Zach Taylor converted on the PA.T. and DeKalb County led 35-0 with 11:25 to go in the fourth quarter.

Macon County finally got on the scoreboard with 3:28 left on a 22 yard touchdown pass play. The P.A.T. was good and DeKalb County's lead was cut to 35 to 7.

The final score was DeKalb County 35, Macon County 7.

J.J. Herriott had a huge night on defense for the Tigers, as he intercepted four Macon County passes. Herriott dropped a potentil fifth interception in the first half, on a fourth down pass play deep in Tiger territory. Hunter Poteete completed 5-of-14 passes for 115 yards and three touchdowns, and rushed for 161 yards on 15 carries with another score. Matthew Lawrence ran the ball 10 times for 79 yards with one touchdown.

Almost 4,000 People Voted Early

October 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

Almost four thousand people turned out for early voting in DeKalb County for the November 4th election.

The DeKalb County Election Commission reports that 3,979 persons voted from October 15th through October 30th including 3,816 in person and 163 by mail.

That beats the November early voting turnout of 2,212 in 2000 and 3,142 in 2004.

All early voting was conducted at the courthouse, but the election commission can break down the numbers of early voters by precinct.

The numbers of voters by precinct are as follows:

Alexandria 253
Temperance Hall 97
Edgar Evins State Park 21
Liberty 185
Dowelltown 123
Snow Hill 205
Middle School 757
Cherry Hill 36
Rock Castle 32
Courthouse 623
Johnson's Chapel 134
Elementary School 488
Belk 82
Keltonburg 217
Blue Springs 187
Church of Christ Annex 539

Total 3,979

If you did not vote early and are an eligible voter, you may cast ballots on Tuesday, November 4th. All sixteen precincts will be open for voting from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Be sure to vote Tuesday and then tune to WJLE Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. for LIVE election return coverage at the courthouse on FM 101.7, AM 1480 and LIVE audio streaming at www.wjle.com Also check out our election tables with voting results by precinct for all races at www.wjle.com

The following are the daily results of early voting at the courthouse.

Wednesday, October 15th- 250 voted in person and 5 by mail for a total of 255

Thursday, October 16th- 352 in person and 3 by mail for a total of 355

Friday, October 17th- 262 in person and 5 by mail for a total of 267

Saturday, October 18th- 142 in person and 5 by mail for a total of 147

Monday, October 20th- 213 in person and 5 by mail for a total of 218

Tuesday, October 21st- 240 in person and 21 by mail for a total of 261

Wednesday, October 22nd- 194 in person and 5 by mail for a total of 199

Thursday, October 23rd- 319 in person and 15 by mail for a total of 334

Friday, October 24th- 263 in person and 7 by mail for a total of 270

Saturday, October 25th- 159 in person and 6 by mail for a total of 165

Monday, October 27th- 229 in person and 3 by mail for a total of 232

Tuesday, October 28th- 298 in person and 8 by mail for a total of 306

Wednesday, October 29th- 281 in person and 8 by mail for a total of 289

Thursday, October 30th- 590 in person and 11 by mail for a total of 601

Prior to the start of early voting 56 voted by mail and 24 voted in person at the nursing homes and retirement homes for a total of 80.

Chamber Milestone Award Goes to New Frontiers

October 30, 2008
Lou Ann Sanders, Chamber Adm.Asst., New Frontier owners Larry and Lori Nellist, Suzanne Williams, Chamber Director

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently presented the Chamber
Milestone Award to New Frontiers celebrating 20 years of service in DeKalb

According to owners Larry and Lori Nellist, "New Frontiers ministers to people throughout the world teaching them to think metaphorically, to live intentionally and to seek the emergent truths that God speaks to them."

New Frontiers is located at 3939 Old Snow Hill Road in Dowelltown. You can see their website at www.newfrontiers.org or visit them on November 16th between the hours of 2 PM and 6 PM at their Open House.

(Pictured left to right: Lou Ann Sanders, Chamber Adm.Asst., New Frontier owners Larry and Lori
Nellist, Suzanne Williams, Chamber Director)

Tennessee Highway Patrols Urges Drivers to Keep Halloween a Treat

October 30, 2008

NASHVILLE --- This Friday evening, the streets will be literally swarming with children, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol is reminding drivers to do their part to make sure they get their treats home safely. For many families, Halloween is a fun-filled evening of trick-or-treating, but it can quickly turn into a real night of horror if someone is hurt.

“Halloween is a fun night for both children and adults, but I simply want to remind parents, drivers and children that it is important to be safe,” said Department of Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. “Careless or impaired drivers can quickly turn the evening into a nightmare.”

Halloween is one of the most dangerous holidays on the road due to alcohol-related crashes by drivers who make the mistake of drinking and driving after parties and festivities. Two-thirds of all highway fatalities at Halloween involve alcohol. Last year in Tennessee, three people were killed in crashes on Halloween between 12:00 a.m., October 31, 2007, through 6:00 a.m., November 1, 2007. One of those crashes involved alcohol.

“With Halloween falling on a Friday this year, we know a lot of people will be out celebrating,” stated THP Colonel Mike Walker. “We want everyone to have a good time, but be smart about it. Designate a driver. This is your warning, because if you drink and drive, you will go to jail.”

Parents and children have a responsibility to be safe this Halloween too. The Centers for Disease Control found that the number of deaths among young pedestrians (ages 5-14) is four times higher on Halloween evening than any other evening of the year. The United States Department of Transportation reports that fatal collisions between motor vehicles and young pedestrians (under the age of 15) happen most frequently between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., prime trick-or-treating time.

Below are tips parents, children and motorists should keep in mind before heading out the door this Halloween.

The Tennessee Department of Safety’s mission is (www.tennessee.gov/safety) to ensure the safety and general welfare of the public. The department encompasses the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Office of Homeland Security and Driver License Services. General areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education, motorist services and terrorism prevention.


Tips for Motorists
• Slow down. Watch for children walking on roads, medians and curbs.
• Be extra alert when pulling in and out of driveways.
• Be especially alert for children darting out from between parked vehicles and from behind bushes and shrubs. They’re excited – and they are not paying attention.
• Do not pass other vehicles that have stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off children.
• If you are driving to a Halloween Party, put your mask on after you park the car.
• Never drink and drive – tonight or any night. If you are partying, designate a driver.
Tips for Parents
• Adults should accompany children at all times and supervise their "trick or treat" activities.
• Teach children to "stop, look left-right-left, and listen" before they cross the street.
• Instruct children to stay on sidewalks and to cross only at corners or crosswalks.
• Use a flashlight and wear retro-reflective strips or patches on your clothing or costume to be more visible to motorists.
• Be certain that the mask does not obstruct vision or hearing.
• Ensure that costumes do not impede walking or driving ability.
Tips for Pedestrians
(children and adults)
• Before crossing a street, stop at the curb or edge of the road and look left, right and left again to be sure no cars are coming. Continue to check for traffic while on the street.
• Walk – never run – from house to house or across the road.
• Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks.
• When crossing at an intersection with a traffic light, be sure to watch for turning cars. Obey all pedestrian signals.
• Walk on sidewalks whenever possible. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the street facing traffic.

Change Your Clocks, Change Batteries in Smoke Detectors Sunday

October 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman would like to remind Tennesseans to "Change Your Clocks, Change Your Batteries" this Sunday for Central Standard Time.

Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause you to sleep more deeply, making the chances of survival worse. A working smoke alarm will double your survival chances by giving you the critical time needed to escape before it's too late.

Nationally, more than 90 percent of all homes have smoke alarms, but it is estimated that one-third of them don't work due to old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly—even if they appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This reduces the "chirping", indicating low batteries. All too often, the battery is removed and not replaced, putting the occupants at risk. There's no way to predict when a fire will occur, and one night without a working smoke alarm is dangerous. Replacing batteries during daylight savings time is an easy way to remember that task.

Here are some other helpful hints on the importance of smoke alarms:
• Smoke alarms should be installed in every sleeping room, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like.
• Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to the manufacturer's instructions.
• Have a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room and teach it to your children.
• When the smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place.
"Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly, and be tested monthly to ensure you have the protection you need when you need it," says Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman. "Use the extra hour when we fall back to make sure your home and family are fire safe."

Many local fire departments have supplies of donated smoke alarms, and departments will help install them in the homes of the elderly and disabled. For more information, visit www.tennessee.gov/commerce.

Smithville Police and DeKalb Sheriff's Department to Conduct Sobriety Checkpoints

October 28, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be conducting saturation patrols along with sobriety checkpoints for the Halloween weekend in an effort to keep the roads safe from drunk drivers and trafffic offenders while children may be present after dark. In the course of the upcoming year, the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department will be working closely with the Governor's Highway Safety Office in an effort to keep the roads safer and the fatalities to a record low in Tennessee history.

Clearing Begins on Property for Star Expansion

October 28, 2008
Dwayne Page
Property being cleared for Star expansion
County Mayor Mike Foster

A bulldozer operator Tuesday began clearing the site where Star Manufacturing plans to expand it's operation.

The county commission Monday night authorized the expenditure of funds which have been in the budget since last year to assist Star with it's plans.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the money will be transferred to and later be repaid by the county industrial development board. "In the budget, under the category ‘ property acquisition of land', is the money that we put up for the earnest money, to do topo mapping, the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP permit), and some of the other things that you (county commission) authorized us to spend as our incentive for Star. It wound up being $57,000 which will eventually be transferred to the Industrial Development Board, and they will repay this money that we're spending now so that it is spent out of the right pocket. It was authorized fully and completely last year on page 54 and this year on page 56 (of the budget). We got the SWPPP permit. They're going to start clearing the boundary of the property tomorrow (Tuesday) morning in order to put in the silt fence. I had conversations today (Monday) with the people at Star and they said to proceed with the clearing, which is wonderful news because we thought it might be put off a few months because of the economy being the way it is, but I think they are ready to proceed."

"What I'm asking for tonight is authorization to spend the money that's already in the budget. It's to authorize the expenditure, to do the SWPPP permit and the clearing of that land to get it prepared for site prep which will be done by the company."

Star Manufacturing, a division of the Middleby Corporation, last month announced plans to expand it's Smithville operation and create another 200 jobs.

A new building for the expansion will be constructed on a 50 plus acre site on Coconut Ridge Road, just a short distance from the present location on Hobson Street.

Frank Ricchio, President of Star Manufacturing, made the announcement saying "Star is purchasing 58 acres just up the street from our current plant here and we're looking forward over the next couple of years to start expanding manufacturing. We hope to add another 100 to 200 thousand square feet over the next several years. I think we have about 235 employees here in Smithville and there's a potential over the next 12 to 24 months for (adding) a couple of hundred jobs or maybe a little more than that."

In other business, the county commission Monday night authorized in-house billing at the county operated ambulance service.

County Mayor Foster says for the last year, the county has paid a Georgia company to do the billing. "By error, they (Georgia company) started our (fiscal) year on June 1st, instead of July 1st, and our reports have been out of sync with them. He (state auditor) suggested that we start our own billing process here in the county now, since we've been through it a year. The committee Thursday night voted to do that and to recommend to the commission that we do that. Right now we're paying about $42,000 to $46,000 a year for this company in Georgia to do the billing. By doing the billing in-house, the first year we'll save about $4,000. The next year we'll save about $12,000 because once we buy that software from EMS Consultants then there's only a yearly update rather than the one time purchase. So it will actually save the county about $12,000 once we get into the second year. It will require a secretary. This person would be hired there (ambulance service) and we'll have to adjust the revenue there from contracted services into an employee position there."

Meanwhile, Foster says tire dumping is still occurring in DeKalb County. "We're still getting some illegal dumping of tires, especially at Caplinger Hollow and in the Smith Fork area. There is a reward if anyone sees somebody doing that. We would like to spend that money to catch whoever this is. If you see a vehicle in your community that's loaded with tires and maybe pulling a trailer, please call and we'll offer a reward. Hopefully the word is getting around. The Sheriff's Department and TWRA have caught some people and I think that will help. It's just an unnecessary and tragic thing we need to get stopped."

In a brief report on the landfill, Foster says "the cell excavation is just about complete and we will be ready, hopefully, within two weeks to start putting the liner in."

Young Hunters Harvest 100 Deer During Juvenile Hunt

October 27, 2008
Dwayne Page
TWRA Officer Tony Cross

Young hunters harvested 100 deer in DeKalb County Saturday and Sunday during the Juvenile Hunt.

TWRA Officer Tony Cross says a lot of hunters took advantage of the Young Sportsman Hunt." The kids had a pretty good weekend. They harvested exactly 100 deer in DeKalb County over those two days. Our total harvest for the first segment of the archery season, prior to that (juvenile hunt), was 99 so we've taken right at 200 deer now."

Meanwhile, the second segment of the archery season began Monday, October 27th and runs through Friday, October 31st.

The first segment of Tennessee's Muzzleloader/Archery Deer Season opens on Saturday, Nov. 1 and goes through Sunday, November 9th in all three of Tennessee's deer hunting units, according to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA).

The statewide bag limit for antlered bucks is three. Hunters are also allowed to take up to four antlerless deer in Unit-A (DeKalb County) during this segment of the muzzleloader season.

TWRA Officer Cross says if you haven't already harvested your limit, you may take up to three bucks during this hunt. "You are allowed to harvest all three of your bucks (limit) with a muzzleloader, if you want to. If you haven't taken any bucks with a bow yet, you can harvest all three bucks with a muzzleloader. Of course, that would prohibit you from being able to take any with a gun because the year long statewide limit is three bucks. The antlerless bag limit for the muzzleloader segment is a total of four deer."

"There's two different muzzleloader segments, November 1st-9th and December 8th-14th. You are allowed a total of four antlerless deer for those two weeks. So if you harvested one during this first segment, you would still have three remaining in the second segment, or two and two, or three and one, or you could take all four of them during this first segment, but you wouldn't be able to harvest any doe or antlerless deer in the second segment. Just remember that there's a three buck bag limit for the entire year. If you want to harvest all three during the muzzleloader season, then that is legal. However, the stipulation that you may only harvest one buck per day is still in effect. So even if you do take them all with a muzzleloader, you can still only harvest one buck per day."

Muzzleloading firearms of .40 caliber minimum plus long bows, compound bows and crossbows are legal hunting equipment for this season.

Resident hunters ages 16 through 64 must possess, in addition to other appropriate licenses, an annual big game license for the equipment used. Lifetime Sportsman license, Junior Hunt/Trap/Fish, Adult Sportsman license and Permanent Senior Citizens license holders are not required to purchase supplemental big game licenses.

In addition to private lands, including public hunting areas, several wildlife management areas (WMAs) will be open to hunters during this muzzleloader season. Hunters need to refer to the 2008 Hunting and Trapping Guide for a listing of these WMAs or go on line to TWRA's Web site at www.tnwildlife.org.

Meanwhile, Officer Cross says you still have a chance to purchase left over permits for the fall turkey hunt, which begins November 15th. "On Wednesday, October 29th the left over permits for the fall turkey hunts will go on sale, beginning at 8:00 a.m. DeKalb County had 112 left over permits for the hunt. You can either go on line and complete your application. If you have a sportsman's license or a lifetime sportsman's license, it's free. It doesn't cost you anything. If you have just a regular hunting and fishing license and a big game stamp, it's still a $20 permit fee. You can also go to a license agent that has the REAL system machine and they can apply for you too."

"Just Say No to Drugs" Dance Scheduled for High School Students

October 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Children's Service Council, Sheriff Patrick Ray and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Old El Paso Taco Company, and Smithville Wal-Mart have teamed together to host a "Just Say No To Drugs” dance and party on November 8th, from 5:00 p.m. till 8:00 p.m. at the DeKalb County High School. This event is for all high school students who attend the DeKalb County High School.

DeKalb County Children's Service Council member Clata Redmon says "We would like to let our teenagers know that we believe in them and would like to provide a safe place and event for them to have fun with their friends."

Sheriff Ray says "I am very pleased to be able to play a part in this dance. This will be a great place for our children to come and dance and have fellowship in a drug-free environment. This event has been made possible by donations from business and civic organizations to the DeKalb Children's Service Council. We hope to be able to have dances for the other schools in the future."

Sheriff Ray adds that his department will be providing security at the dance. Only students with valid DeKalb County High School student ID's will be allowed to enter this event. All school rules and policies will be enforced. Any student who has not turned in a parental permission slip should contact School Resource Officer Kenneth Whitehead for further details.

The DeKalb County Children Service Council is asking that businesses, industries, churches, organizations, or any individuals who would like to make a monetary donation for this and other events for the youth in DeKalb County to contact them at 597-7991. Monetary Donations are tax deductible. A list of all that made donations to this event will be announced later.

Smithville Man Charged with Aggravated Sexual Battery on a 12 Year Old Girl

October 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

A Smithville man was charged with aggravated sexual battery on a child last week after he allegedly had improper contact with a 12 year old girl during the summer.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives charged 44 year old Jack Davis Taylor Jr. of Dry Creek Road, Smithville on Wednesday, October 22nd with aggravated sexual battery on a child. Sheriff Ray says through an investigation, detectives discovered that on or about June 5th of this year, Taylor was with a 12 year old female on Dry Creek Road. He allegedly unhooked her bra, rubbed her back and the back area of the child's legs, and the buttocks area. The child reportedly told Taylor to stop, but he refused. Taylor's bond was set at $25,000 and will appear in court on October 30th.

Meanwhile, in other cases, 37 year old Mary J. Wright of Keltonburg Road, Smithville was arrested Monday, October 20th after she was found to have taken items from a home on Barnes Mill Road with the intent to commit a theft. Sheriff Ray says detectives, through an investigation, found that Wright entered the Barnes Mill residence and took the owner's jewelry, several DVDs, coins, and credit and debit cards. All items were valued at over $1,000. Wright then went to a business on Highway 56 south in Smithville and tried to use the stolen credit and debit cards to purchase items, but the business refused to sell her the merchandise on the cards. While at the business, Wright also placed a clock and two greeting cards under her coat and walked out of the business without paying for them. Detectives charged Wright with attempted fraudulent use of a credit card and two counts of theft of property. Her bond was set at $7,000. She went to court on October 23rd and pleaded guilty to the charges. Wright is already on probation for shop lifting here in DeKalb County.

Sheriff's Deputies arrested 34 year old Brandon Zay Stringfellow of Southside Drive, McMinnville on Friday, October 24th for DUI after deputies responded to a call on Highway 70 east. Sheriff Ray says officers found Stringfellow in his vehicle, in a ditch, on Highway 70. Stringfellow submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Stringfellow's bond was set at $1,000 and will appear in court on December 11th.

34 year old Jamie Lynn Panter of Elmwood Drive, Rock Island was charged Monday, October 20th with criminal impersonation after deputies went to Lake Motel on an investigation. Sheriff Ray says Panter told officers his name was Toby Hillis. After learning that Panter had given them the wrong name and that Warren County had warrants on him for two counts of violation of probation, he was placed under arrest for criminal impersonation and his bond was set at $2,500, Panter will appear in court on December 11th.

On Saturday, deputies received a call concerning a reckless driver on Highway 70 east. Sheriff Ray says officers found the vehicle and stopped it for weaving. The driver, 47 year old Felix Sosa of South Mountain Street, Smithville was charged with driving under the influence. Sosa submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Sosa admitted to drinking at least three beers earlier that night. His bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on December 4th.

Deputies arrested 21 year old Ryan Edward Herron of McMinnville Highway, Smithville Sunday for aggravated burglary and theft of property under $500. Sheriff Ray says through an investigation on a theft report, Herron was found to have entered a room at the Lake Motel without the owner's consent. While inside, Herron took two cell phones from the room and later sold them to another individual. The cell phones have since been recovered. Herron's bond was set at $6,000 and he will appear in court on November 13th.

21 year old Timothy James Howard of Upper Helton Road, Alexandria was arrested Sunday after Sheriff's deputies responded to a domestic call on Upper Helton Road. Howard was found on the front porch of the home in an intoxicated state. Sheriff Ray says upon being placed under arrest, Howard became combative and belligerent causing the deputies to have to use force to put handcuffs on him. Howard was charged with public intoxication and resisting arrest and his bond was set at $2,000. He will appear in court on November 13th.

Sheriff's Deputies arrested 21 year old Steven Patrick Krick of Gordon Adcock Road, Smithville Monday after deputies found Krick passed out under the steering wheel of a vehicle on Highway 56 south. Sheriff Ray says Krick's vehicle was still running when the officers found him. Upon a search of Krick's vehicle, a pill bottle containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana and a marijuana pipe were found in the console. Krick was charged with driving under the influence, simple possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on December 4th.


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