Local News Articles

Lisa Cripps Named Upper Cumberland Regional Teacher of the Year

March 13, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb Middle School 8th grade teacher Lisa Cripps has been named the Upper Cumberland Regional Teacher of the Year.

Cripps was named DeKalb Middle School Teacher of the Year and then was selected as the 5th through 8th grade DeKalb County Teacher of the Year. This qualified her as a candidate for the Regional Teacher of the Year. She was chosen from a number of teachers across the entire Upper Cumberland Region. Mrs. Cripps is now eligible for the Grand Division Teacher of the Year Award, which covers the entire Middle Tennessee area.

In a phone interview with WJLE Thursday, Cripps said she is excited to have received this honor."
"I'm extremely happy and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank my fellow teachers at DeKalb Middle School for their vote of confidence. I would also like to congratulate all the other teachers in DeKalb County that do an excellent job on a daily basis. I have had the opportunity to work in three of DeKalb County's schools and I have a wonderful working relationship with the staff in each one. I especially feel pretty close to the high school with my sister as the high school principal. It has truly been a twenty eight year experience for me and this year certainly has been a humbling one with this honor. I am an eighth grade teacher. I teach science. I have five classes a day of students and I try to do a lot of hands on materials with them. We do not have a science lab and that has been a negative for me to do those hands on projects, but I give great effort at doing what I can in the classroom. Maybe I'll see that lab one day. I would just like to say a special thank you to my parents, Woodrow and Louise Frazier, who were both educators. I think this is kind of in my blood to be a teacher. It's been that way all my life and I just thank them and my family for their support. I've also had a lot of support from my fellow teachers at DeKalb Middle School and the administration there and I would just like to say that I appreciate everybody's congratulations to me too."

The faculty and staff of DeKalb Middle School would like to congratulate Mrs. Cripps and wish her good luck in the Grand Division Teacher of the Year selection process.

Smithville Police Investigating Break-In at Collier Ford

March 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are investigating a break-in which occurred sometime either late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning at Collier Ford at 710 West Broad Street.

Officer Travis Bryant, in his report, states "On Wednesday at 7:48 a.m., I responded to Collier Ford to a break-in that occurred during the night. When I arrived on the scene, I observed the back rolling door broke off the track where someone had made entry to the building. They (intruders) had gone through the parts department to the front lobby where they broke into the owner's office and took a 50 inch Plasma TV valued at $2,500, a Nintendo WII valued at $400, two shotguns (a double barrel and a single barrel pump) valued at $1,000. They then broke into the finance manager's office and went through the drawers but nothing was removed. The value of the damage to the door is estimated at $1,000."

If you have information that could help solve the crime, contact the Smithville Police Department.

In other city crime news, Smithville Police cited 25 year old Mrs. Rousha C. Prater of North Mill Street, Dowelltown for shoplifting from the Wal-Mart store on Sunday, March 9th. She will be in General Sessions Court on the citation April 10th.

In his report, Officer Randy King states that "I was dispatched to 515 West Broad Street for a reported shoplifter. Upon arrival, I met the Wal-Mart security and the manager. I was advised at that time that Wal-Mart security had caught a woman stealing makeup. Mrs. Prater was detained by Wal-Mart and was being held in the manager's office until the arrival of the police. I spoke to Mrs. Prater and she advised me that she had put the makeup in her purse because she did not have the money to pay for it. Found in Prater's purse were fifteen items that totaled $122.56. She was cited for shoplifting."

Meanwhile, 23 year old Sara Nicole South of Toad Road, Smithville was charged Tuesday with Theft of Property under $500 for allegedly shoplifting from Dollar General Store. Her bond is $1,000 and she will be in court on the charge March 27th.

Sergeant Joey D. Jones, in his report, states that " On March 11th at the Dollar General Store on Highway 56, South took from the store seven bottles of personal hygiene products and did not pay for them. They were recovered in the vehicle she was in. She did admit to taking the items."

South's boyfriend, 28 year old B.J. Ittayem of Toad Road, was charged with filing a false report for allegedly trying to take the blame for the theft. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court on the charge March 27th.

Sergeant Jones' report states that "Ittayem told the officer that he had taken several items from the store and did not pay for them. His girlfriend, South, had taken the items and she did admit to taking them."

In other cases, 18 year old Lucio Romo of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville was charged Sunday with possession of alcohol by a minor and underage consumption of alcohol. His bond is $1,000 on each charge and he will be in court April 3rd.

Officer Scott Davis, in his report, states that he was dispatched to the area of Hayes Street and College Street in Smithville to a possible drunk driver. The vehicle was stopped by Officer Bradley Tatrow. Officer Davis made contact with the passenger who was identified as Romo. Officer Davis noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his person and a six pack of beer between his feet and an open bottle of beer he had dumped out prior to Officer Davis' arrival.

Romo was charged with underage possession and consumption after officers discovered his birth date is September 19th, 1989.

Meanwhile, 25 year old Jose Antonio Rodriguez Coronilla of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville was charged Sunday with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and no drivers license. His bond is $1,000 on each charge and he will be in court March 27th.

Officer Bradley Tatrow's report states that "I responded to a drunk driver in the area of South College Street. Upon making contact with the vehicle, I observed it weaving on the roadway. Upon stopping the vehicle and speaking to the driver and passenger, I noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on both subjects. The passenger was 18 and there was beer in the vehicle. The driver, Cornilla, was arrested for contributing, knowing the passenger was only 18 years old."

Since he could not produce a drivers license, Cornilla was also charged with no drivers license.

19 year old Brandon Matthew Byford of Luttrell Avenue was charged with forgery on Thursday, March 6th. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court March 27th.

According to the warrant, "Byford did forge a check on his grandfather, John Dorton, in the amount of $530.37 and cashed the check at First Bank in DeKalb County. Dorton states he did not authorize anyone to sign this check."

The case was investigated by Investigator Jerry Hutchins Jr.

41 year old Phillip Wesley York of Anthony Avenue was charged Sunday with public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court April 3rd.

Officer Scott Davis, in his report, states that he responded to NHC on an intoxicated person in the building. Upon arrival, he found York who was very unsteady on his feet and had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. He also had slurred speech and his eyes were bloodshot and watery. He allegedly was also bothering patients and nursing staff at the facility. York was a danger to himself and the public at large", according to the report.

In another case, Sosa Celaya Roel of Smith Road was charged Sunday with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 27th.

In his report, Officer Tatrow states that "I observed a vehicle on East Broad Street weaving across the yellow line five times as well as jerking out of it's lane three times. Upon getting the vehicle stopped and speaking to the driver (Sosa Roel), I noticed a strong odor of alcohol on his person. He stated he had drank two beers. He performed several field sobriety tasks and he performed poorly on all tasks. He did submit to a breathalyzer test and blew a .19."

Roberto Cortez of Smith Road was arrested Sunday for public intoxication. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court April 3rd.

The police report states that "Cortez was a passenger of a vehicle where the driver was arrested for DUI. Cortez had a strong odor of alcohol on his person and advised Officer Davis that he had drank several beers. He did not have any ID on his person and could not find a safe ride home. He was a danger to himself so Officer Davis placed him under arrest."

35 year old Dora Leigh Mooneyham and her husband 32 year old Billy Paul Mooneyham of Parkway Drive were each charged with filing a false report on Monday. They will be in court on the charges March 27th.

According to Officer Mark Milam's report, Dora Mooneyham initially told police she was driving a vehicle involved in an accident on Allen's Chapel Road but it was later determined that her husband was the driver.

Mr Mooneyham was charged after first reporting to police that his wife wrecked the vehicle. It was later determined that he was driving the vehicle.

DeKalb County Families Can Enjoy Additional Tax Savings This Spring

March 12, 2008

The Tennessee Department of Revenue has announced the change of the special spring Sales Tax Holiday date to Friday, April 25 through Sunday, April 27, 2008. This one-time holiday will offer three full days of tax savings to shoppers on clothing, school and art supplies, and computers.

The date, originally set for March 21-23 on Easter weekend, was changed by the General Assembly to April 25-27.

“By moving the date, consumers and retailers will be able to enjoy three full days of tax savings as the legislation originally intended,” said Senator Tim Burchett, Senate sponsor of the bill
that moved the date to April.

“Now people can take advantage of the tax savings offered by the state, and still be able to honor their other commitments,” said Representative Randy Rinks, the House sponsor.

During the holiday,shoppers may purchase selected clothing with a price of $100 or less per item, school and school art supplies with a price of $100 or less per item and computers with a price of $1,500 or less without paying Tennessee's state and local sales tax on the items. The
holiday also includes purchases of qualified items sold via mail, telephone, e-mail or Internet if the customer orders and pays for the item and the retailer accepts the order during the holiday for immediate shipment, even if delivery is made after the exemption period.

“All Tennesseans can benefit from the state’s sales tax holidays,” said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. “The April holiday offers tax-free purchases on clothing for summer, computers and
supplies for summer programs or early back-to-school preparations.”

Details about the state's special Sales Tax Holiday are available at the state’s dedicated Web site,www.tntaxholiday.com (http://www.tntaxholiday.com/ ). The Tennessee Department of Revenue also offers assistance to consumers via e-mail, Salestax.Holiday@state.tn.us,
and through its toll-free statewide telephone hot line,(800) 342-1003.

Staff is available to answer questions Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.Central Time. (Out-of-state and Nashville-area callers, please dial (615) 253-0600.)

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent
of total state tax revenue.

During the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the department collected $11 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.9 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2006-2007 fiscal year.

Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government.
To learn more about the department, log on towww.Tennessee.gov/revenue.

School Districts Make Requests for More Pre-K Classrooms

March 11, 2008

Tennessee school districts have requested 306 new state-funded pre-K classes for the 2008-09 school year to serve four-year olds in at-risk and universal classrooms, according to a
survey released today by the Tennessee Department of Education.

School administrators in each of Tennessee’s school systems submitted a request for the number of new pre-K classrooms they would like to open next year. DeKalb County has requested two new classes. These requests would finally bring pre-K to every county in the state of Tennessee.

“This survey demonstrates the demand and desire for more families to have access to high quality pre-K education,” Governor Phil Bredesen said. “Quality pre-K classrooms are one of the best investments we can make in the education of children in Tennessee, and every family
deserves access to educational opportunities like pre-K that prepare their children to succeed in school.”

Both Sumner County and Washington County schools intend to request state pre-K funding for the first time. With these requests, Tennessee’s Voluntary Pre-K for All program will have classrooms in all but one of Tennessee’s 136 school systems.

School districts further reported 2,093 students still on pre-K waiting lists this year. This is a growth of over 500 students on the waiting list from the same time last year.

“As more families benefit from these excellent programs, we see a growing need in schools across the state to provide this valuable instruction to young children,” said Acting Education Commissioner Tim Webb. “This survey shows that the people of Tennessee support and
believe in the need for pre-K.”

Under Governor Bredesen, the state has created 934 pre-K classrooms serving 17,308 children. Tennessee’s Pre-K for All program is ranked high nationally in quality by the National Institute for Early Education Research and is held as a model state by the national advocacy
organization pre-K Now.

Parents Attend DeKalb West School Fair

March 11, 2008

From churning butter to the different phases of the moon, science took center stage for the second annual DeKalb West School Science Fair March 3-4. Parents packed into the school’s gym Monday night to hear students demonstrate their findings for their special project. Judges from outside the school awarded students based on the quality of their experiments, demonstrations, and research work.

Individual winners from 1st-3rd grades are the following: 3rd grader Bailey Redmon in first place, 2nd grader Brady Driver took second, and 3rd grader Rosa Payne captured third. Caitlyn Tyree, Ethan Martin, and Hannah Evans were given honorable mentions.

Overall individual winners from 4th-5th grade are 5th grader Lydia Trail with a first place finish, 5th grader Dakoda Eaton with a second place showing, and 4th grader William Cain with a third place finish. For their experiments, 4th grader Anna Bess Malone claimed the top spot followed by 5th grader Bailey Hayes with 2nd. Honorable mentions went to 4th grader James Sherwood, 4th grader Sam McMillen, 5th grader CharlieYoung, and 5th grader Mikayla Hendrixson. In the demonstrations category, 5th grader Cason Oakley won the top ribbon followed by 5th grader Cayla Cantrell with second place. 4th grader Damian Payne, 5th grader Payton Graves, and the entire 4th grade class received honorable mentions. For research work, 5th grader Luke Boss won first place and 5th grader Isaiah Sutherland placed second. Given honorable mentions were the following fifth graders: Nikki Hunt, Katy Willoughby & Autumn Taylor, and Jacob Hale.

Overall individual winners from 6th-8th grade are 8th grade Sydney Robinson who won first place, 7th grader Erin Cantrell-Pryor who earned second place, and 8th grader Alex Meadows who took home a third place finish. Placing in the top three for their experiments are 7th grader Matt Boss with a number one finish, 8th grader Luis Richards with a second place ribbon, and 8th grader Quintin Harbaugh won 3rd place. 8th grader Austin Willmore, 6th graders Zachary Bandy and Tiffany Collier, and 8th grader Matthew Cain were given honorable mentions. Students who placed for their demonstrations are 7th grader Shelton Martin with first place, 8th grader Melodie Brown with second place, and 8th grader Corey Merriman placed 3rd. Honorable mentions went to 6th graders Sarah Hunt and Bradley Faulk, 6th grader Alivia Nokes, and 7th grader Jacob Turner. For their research work, 8th grader Hailey Perry placed first followed by 7th grader Kasey Hunt with second place, and 8th grader Katy England won third place. 8th grader Chelsea Crutcher, 7th graders Kristina Tyree and Ashley O’Connor, and 6th graders Morgan Clark and Tori Redmon were selected for honorable mentions.

Three "Teachers of the Year" Selected to Compete for Regional Honors

March 10, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County School System has announced that three educators, Joyce Alexander, Lisa Cripps, and Harriett Cantrell have been selected "Teachers of the Year" locally and will compete for regional honors in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program.

These teachers were chosen from a group of local educators in three categories (levels of teaching) Pre- Kindergarten to Fourth Grade- Alexander; Fifth to Eighth Grade- Cripps; and Ninth through Twelfth Grade- Cantrell.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.

This program is sponsored annually by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Niswonger Foundation.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year represents Tennessee at the National Teacher of the Year competition, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.

Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.

Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the Governor. In addition, the State Finalists and the State Teacher of the Year receive cash awards from the Niswonger Foundation.

The initial group of teachers included Janet Woodward, Janet Trapp, Lisa Mabe, and Joyce Alexander in the Pre K to 4th grade category; Susan Robinson, Amanda Griffith, Janet England, and Lisa Cripps in the 5th to 8th grade division; and Mary Anne Carpenter, Charlotte Wruble, and Harriett Cantrell in the 9th-12th grade teaching category.

Two Arrested by Sheriff's Department in Separate Theft Cases

March 10, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged two men in separate theft investigations since Friday. Meanwhile, 18 year old Lillian Elezabeth Sosa, an illegal immigrant, has been picked up by the Department of Immigration and may soon be deported to Mexico.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the detectives charged 29 year old Richard Mooney of Armstrong Road, Watertown on Friday with a theft which occurred at a residence on Poplar Road in DeKalb County on October 4th, 2007.

Mooney is charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Sheriff Ray says Mooney allegedly took a 1965 Dodge 1 ton flatbed truck, and various pieces of metal and tin from the residence. Mooney's bond was set at $30,000 and his court date is March 20th.

Meanwhile on Saturday, DeKalb Sheriff's Department detectives charged 26 year old William Travis Malone of Curtis Avenue, Alexandria with burglary and theft of property over $10,000.

Sheriff Ray says on February 21st, Malone allegedly took 8 rings, 2 watches, and a necklace valued at over $15,000 and $80.00 in change from a vehicle on Curtis Avenue in Alexandria. Detectives were able to recover some of the stolen rings which Malone had sold to a business in Smithville. Malone allegedly admitted to county detectives his involvement in the theft. Malone's bond was set at $75,000 and his court date is March 20th.

Sheriff Ray says Lillian Elezabeth Sosa was picked up by the Department of Immigration at the DeKalb County Jail Monday. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was contacted by the Department of Immigration last week in regards to Sosa's deportation. Sosa has been taken to Nashville to the Davidson County Jail and she will be held, pending arrangements to transport her back to Mexico. Sheriff Ray says "We have been informed by the Department of Immigration that every attempt will be made to deport any illegal alien, who has been charged with any felony criminal offense or has any prior record of deportation from the U.S."

Sosa pleaded guilty last week to abuse of a corpse in DeKalb County Criminal Court and received a two year sentence, all suspended to time served. She was given credit for the 130 days she has been in custody from October 26th, 2007 to March 4th, 2008. She was to be released on Department of Corrections probation Monday, March 10th.

DeKalb County Jobless Rate Inches Up to 5.2% In January

March 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for January was 5.2%, up from 5% in December and 4.9% in January, 2007.

DeKalb County's Labor Force in January was 10,330. A total of 9,790 were employed and 540 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for January 2008 was released last week at 4.9 percent, 0.1 percent lower than the revised December 2007 rate of 5.0 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of January was also 4.9 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for January 2008, show that 89 counties increased. The rate decreased in four counties and remained the same in two counties. County unemployment rates are not be seasonally adjusted and therefore reflect seasonal expansions and layoffs that occur during the year. The state and U.S. unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted to eliminate normal seasonal fluctuations and to indicate a more accurate measurement of actual economic change.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.5 percent, the same as the December 2007 rate. Pickett County had the state's highest at 10.7 percent, up from 9.5 in December, followed by Perry County at 10.2 percent, up from 9.0 in December.
Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.8 percent, up from 3.7 in December. Davidson County was 4.2 percent, up from 4.1 in December. Hamilton County was at 4.6 percent, up from 4.3 in December, and Shelby County was 5.6 percent, up from the December rate of 5.4.

Andrew Cooper Wins Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee

March 7, 2008
Dwayne Page

Andrew Chaffin Cooper, a fourth grader at Northside Elementary School, won the Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee Friday at the Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University in Nashville.

Cooper correctly spelled the word "kielbasa" to claim the championship.

He is the son of Dr. Steven and Martha Cooper of Smithville.

Both Cooper and Ashli Chew represented DeKalb County in the Regional Spelling Bee. Students from thirty nine other counties also participated.

Chew, another fourth grader at Northside Elementary, was winner of the 5th Annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee held last month at the high school. Cooper was the runner-up.

Chew is the daughter of Lori and Kelvin Page of Smithville and George and Janna Chew of Murfreesboro.

As the winner of the Regional Spelling Bee, Cooper received a one hundred dollar savings bond, a Webster's Third New International Dictionary, and a first place trophy. Andrew will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 25th through May 31st with all expenses paid by the Tennessean Newspaper.

State Takes Action Against Man and Related Businesses Who Provided Unlicensed Legal Services to Hispanic Immigrants Here

March 7, 2008

Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper, acting on behalf of the Division of Consumer Affairs, has filed a civil law enforcement action against Elmer Virula for allegedly providing legal services without a license to members of the Hispanic immigrant community in Smithville and Davidson County.

The Attorney General has filed suit against Elmer Virula, TPS Tax Professional Services, Inc., and Office Professional Services, Inc. in Davidson County Circuit Court. The defendants are charged with the unauthorized practice of law for allegedly providing services from their
offices located on South Mountain Street in Smithville, Billingsgate Road in Antioch, and Nolensville Pike and Thompson Lane in Nashville. The State's lawsuit alleges the defendants falsely told consumers that Elmer Virula is an attorney and certified public accountant in the State of Tennessee.

The complaint also alleges the defendants misled consumers, claiming they could provide legal services such as immigration document preparation, marriage licenses and other government certificates, which were falsified.

State officials said if you paid Elmer Virula, TPS Tax Professional Services, Inc., or Office Professional Services, Inc. for services, please contact the Tennessee Attorney General's Office at (615) 741-1671 or toll free within Tennessee at 1-877-275-7396. The State is still trying to
determine how many consumers may have paid Virula and the related businesses
for services he allegedly did not provide.


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