Local News Articles

Smithville Man Injured in One Car Accident

August 12, 2008
Dwayne Page
One Man Injured In Wreck

A Smithville man was injured in a one car accident Tuesday afternoon on Allen's Ferry Road.

Trooper Jimmy Tisdale of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Daniel S. Sardar of J.E. Evins Avenue was driving north on Allen's Ferry Road in a 1999 Buick Sentry when he failed to negotiate a curve, went off the road, struck a fence post, and traveled a few more yards before coming to rest in a ditchline off the road in front of Mount Holly Cemetery.

Sardar was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment.

County Commission Set to Act on New $33-Million Budget

August 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

The budget committee of the DeKalb County Commission put the finishing touches on the proposed budgets for all departments Monday night in preparation for approval by the commission later this month.

The total budget for all departments comes to $33-million 181-thousand 306 dollars.

The current property tax rate is $1.70 per $100 of assessed value. The new certified rate after reappraisal or the latest Current Value Update (CVU) is $1.4599 but the commission plans to round it off to $1.46 after a public hearing.

The $1.46 cent tax rate will generate about the same amount of local tax dollars as the $1.70 prior to the CVU. Each cent of the tax rate generates $42-thousand 181 after a 5.25% delinquency rate is figured into the equation.

The proposed rate breaks down as follows:

County General- 55 cents (net estimated collection- $2-million 319-thousand 985)
General Purpose Schools- 49 cents (net estimated collection- $2-million- 066-thousand- 896)
Debt Service- 20 cents (net estimated collection- $843-thousand 631)
Highways/Public Works- 3 cents (net estimated collection $126-thousand 545)
Solid Waste Fund- 19 cents (net estimated collection $801-thousand 449)

Total Tax levy: $1.46 per $100 of assessed value. Total net estimated collection $6-million 158-thousand 506

County Mayor Mike Foster says the overall budget is similar to last year's with a few exceptions, including about a $600 pay raise for full time employees.

The sheriff will be authorized to use money from his drug fund to hire an investigator. This is money generated from drug cases, such as the sale of seized vehicles, etc. The sheriff will also get to hire another deputy and a correctional officer, and to pay for it, he has agreed to keep five more state prisoners, which will generate additional state reimbursement or board bill funds for housing state inmates.

Sheriff Ray says he has the minimum number of jailers required, but if a jailer has to be off from work, it creates comp time and overtime issues, which he wants to avoid. He says another jailer would ease the problem.

The highway department gets three cents of the property tax rate and County Mayor Mike Foster says because of the amount of money each cent of the tax rate generates, "He (Kenny Edge) will get $13,000 in extra money (for the road department) above what he has been getting. The budget committee has recommended that the county help him (Edge) to buy a front end loader for the rock crusher, which means that the (county) would borrow the money to do a seven year note on that purchase. He (Edge) would pay $13,000 on the note each year (from his budget) and the (county) would pay $20,000 a year. That would free up a little extra money in his budget so that he could do some more road paving work."

The highway department is primarily funded from state gasoline tax revenues, with the exception of the 3 cent property tax rate and a mineral severance tax.

Foster says work will proceed on the development of a new cell site at the landfill now that the state has issued a permit for the facility. "The county borrowed the money almost three years ago in anticipation of getting this (permit) and it took almost three years to get the permit approved by just going through the process. We are actually about to make the third payment on that even though we don't have the landfill cell up and running. They have been doing some work on it. They basically have the road cut in and to grade. They've got one of the berms ready to sow. Bids were taken on the 5th to bid out the process of doing the cell, which hopefully will serve the county for six or seven years. It will be paid off in three more years. That's one of the things we try to do is for ever how long the life of a project is, we want to be sure it's paid off, so that we're not paying long term debt for something that's already expired it's usefulness"

Total budgets for each department are as follows:

County General- $5-million 919-thousand 200

Highways- $2-million 131-thousand 630

Debt Service- $1-million 275-thousand 724

General Purpose Schools- $17-million 678-thousand 485

Central Cafeteria- $1-million 175-thousand 305

General Capital Projects- $483, 332

Local Purpose Fund- $2-million 154-thousand 885

Drug Control- $50, 315

Courthouse/Jail Maintenance- $61, 001

Solid Waste- $2-million 251-thousand 429

Total appropriations: $33-million 181-thousand 306

The beginning fund balance as of July 1st, 2008 was $10-million 21-thousand 030

The projected fund balance as of June 30th, 2009 is expected to be $7-million 922-thousand 632.

The county commission is expected to consider passage of the new budget on Monday, Agust 25th at 6:30 p.m. during the next regular meeting at the courthouse.

York Charged with Filing False Report of Fatal Stabbing

August 11, 2008
Dwayne Page
Phillip Wesley York

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Sunday charged a 41 year old man with filing a false report after reporting a fatal stabbing, which did not occur.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Phillip Wesley York of Lake Motel Smithville called 911 and reported to central dispatch that he had witnessed a murder.

After deputies arrived at York's residence, York told a story of a 17 year old who had stabbed someone to death.

He said the 17 year old then ran off and hasn't been seen since. Deputies investigated and learned that the parents of the person, to whom York was referring, does not have a 17 year old daughter. Deputies discovered that York's story was bogus. York was heavily intoxicated at the time.

York was arrested for filing the false report and his bond was set at $5,000. He will appear in court on August 21st.

Meanwhile, in a separate case, 54 year old Danny Lee Atnip was arrested Wednesday at Mt Herman Church on Dry Creek Road.

Sheriff Ray says Atnip was found to have a syringe and a straw containing a yellow powdery substance believed to be dilaudid. He was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and his bond was set at $1,000. Atnip's court date is August 21st.

Chamber Presents Community Improvement Award

August 10, 2008
Jason Ray Home

The Chamber of Commerce recently presented a Community Improvement award to Jason Ray for extensive renovations done on his beautiful Liberty home.

The Bungalow / Craftsman style home was built in 1918 by J. M. Bradley on land purchased from M. E. Ray, a descendant of current owner Jason Ray.

The property, which had fallen into major disrepair, was acquired by Ray in 2007. With the help of his father, Ted, Jason has restored the home back to the showplace it once was.

The home was the first in the area to have electric lights (powered by a Delco battery) and indoor plumbing.

(Pictured from left: Amy Lockhart; Ted Ray; Jason Ray; Ricky Barrett, contractor; Liberty Mayor Edward Hale; Chamber Director Suzanne Williams)

School Board Makes Adjustments to Proposed Budget

August 9, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education met in special session Friday evening and adopted the proposed budget for schools for the 2008-09 fiscal year, after making some adjustments.

The board reduced expenditures from the original proposed budget by $270,821. Total expenditures projected for 2008-09 in the new revised proposed budget are $17,678,485. Total projected revenues are $17,085,275, a shortfall of $593,210.

In order to balance the proposed budget, the school board proposes an appropriation of $555,500 from Basic Education Program (BEP) Reserves and $37,710 from Technology Reserves. The local property tax rate for schools would not be increased.

The original proposed budget included projected revenues of $16,979,885. That figure is now $ 17,085, 275. School officials say the state has okayed adding $105,390 to the budget from other sources including $83,000 from the BEP program, $6,100 from other state revenues, $4,000 from the Job Training Partnership Act, and $12,290 from Public Law 874.

The proposed school budget includes funding in the regular instruction program for three new teaching positions in the system as needed based on student enrollment, along with a new gifted teacher position in the special education program, a new position in the vocational education program, an additional school nurse along with a new part-time clerical position to support the school coordinated health program, and a new clerical position for the guidance department of DeKalb County High School.

A one time bonus of $200 per certified employee is included in the proposed budget and support staff would get a 2% pay raise along with any step increases as per the school system's salary scale. The budget also reflects increases in teacher salaries by degree advancement and years of experience.

The budget also includes projected increases due to inflation, including an increase for health insurance, electricity, supplies and materials, textbooks and fuel.

The proposed school budget will now be presented to the budget committee of the county commission for a recommendation before it goes to the entire commission for approval later this month.

Sheriff's Department Looking for Marijuana

August 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, in cooperation with the Warren County Sheriff's Department Marijuana Eradication Team, conducted a helicopter fly over of portions of DeKalb County Friday morning.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says over 50 marijuana plants were seized. "Patches of marijuana were found in Alexandria and single plants were found in Liberty. The plants have been destroyed."

Sheriff Ray encourages anyone having knowledge of drug manufacture or drug use to call him at 597-4935 or call the Drug and Crime Tip Line at 464-6400. You may also email him at sheriffray@dtccom.net. All calls are kept confidential.

Sheriff Ray says signs of someone growing marijuana outdoors could be:

"cleared areas in thickets for sunshine, usually around small branches and creeks

"people entering the woods with plastic plant slats, water jugs, buckets, fertilizer, gardening tools, moth balls to detour animals and camouflaged chicken wire to hide the plants from aircrafts such as the helicopter

"frequent visits into fields and woods without any reasoning.

Indoor grows are now a popular way of growing marijuana. Some signs you may want to look for of someone growing marijuana in indoor grows are:

" Rental buildings (residential and commercial) are often used so criminals avoid damage to their own property. This results from the high humidity levels and alterations to the property to accommodate the grow operation.

"Tenants may be reluctant to allow landlords to inspect their rented property and/or make arrangements to meet landlords away from the property to pay rent and/or discuss problems.

"Prior history of premises. Residence and/or commercial premises have been used as marijuana grow operations in the past. Many of these rental properties are known among the criminal element as having been used for growing marijuana then repeatedly used again.

"House or utilities obtained under assumed names with payment made in cash.

"Unexplained and unreasonably high utility bills.

"Tenants never taking furniture or groceries into the house.

"Residents may only be in the home occasionally for short periods of time.

"People access the residence only through the garage.

"Water lines and/or electrical cords running to the basement or outbuilding.

"Residence or outbuilding has unusual amount of roof vents or exhaust fan noises.

"Condensation forms on windows due to high humidity levels inside. Humidity inside a grow room is approximately 65% with temperatures ranging between 80 to 90 F. These conditions manifest themselves through condensation on windows. This may also result in lack of snow on the roof in winter.

"Unusual amounts of steam coming from vents in the house in cold weather.

"Skunk-like odor of growing marijuana can occasionally be detected outside. Also, the odor of moth balls, chlorine, manure, soap and/or air freshener is frequently utilized ways of trying to mask the smell of the operation.

"Electrical equipment inside creates humming sounds. Some electrical components in an indoor operation create humming sounds similar to a transformer on a hydro pole.

Smithville Man Charged with Statutory Rape

August 8, 2008
Dwayne Page
Bradley Robert Herriott

Smithville Police have charged a 19 year old man with four counts of statutory rape of a young girl.

Chief Richard Jennings says Bradley Robert Herriott of West Broad Street, Smithville is under a $100,000 bond and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges September 4th.

According to Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr., Herriott had sexual intercourse with a 13 year old girl on four different occasions near the juvenile's home on a neighbor's back porch on Morgan Drive and at the Joe L. Evins Ball Park on the last week in May through the first week in June.

Herriott was charged on Wednesday, August 6th in the case.

Meanwhile, in other cases, 37 year old Richard B. Turner of Crestlawn Avenue was charged on Wednesday, August 6th with simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and public intoxication.

He is under a total bond of $2,000 on those charges and will be in court August 21st.

According to Lieutenant Steven Leffew, a woman came to the police department on Wednesday to report that she and Turner had been arguing and that he would not leave her alone. Lieutenant Leffew reported that " As I was talking to her, Turner came up to us and she and he started arguing again."

The police report states that "Turner staggered into the police department and he was very unsteady on his feet. He had very slurred speech with an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Upon a pat down search incident to arrest, six blue bills, believed to be valium (schedule IV controlled substance) and two white pills were found in his front pocket in a clear baggie."

Turner was also charged on Thursday, August 7th with criminal trespass.

Officer Matt Holmes reports that on Thursday at 629 Crestlawn Avenue, police responded to investigate a "possible drunk" on the property. He states "Upon arrival, I found Turner" (who had apparently fallen down in the yard). "The management of the Smithville Housing Authority has a restraining order issued by City Judge Hilton Conger to keep Turner off the property."

Turner is under a $1,000 bond in that case and he will be in court on the charge August 21st.

24 year old Michael B. Colwell of Adcock Cemetery Road was charged Wednesday, August 6th with driving under the influence, reckless endangerment, simple possession, and drug paraphernalia.

Officer Bradley Tatrow reports that "On August 6th on Bright Hill Road, Colwell was operating a motor vehicle and was involved in an accident with a 10 year old child in the vehicle along with drugs and paraphernalia. He did have slurred speech and problems holding his head straight up. No field sobriety tasks were performed because of safety issues but he did take a blood test." According to Officer Tatrow, Colwell "admitted to shooting a K-4 dilaudid about a half hour before the accident."

The police report states that upon Colwell's arrest for DUI, a search was conducted and four xanax pills and a marijuana cigarette were found in his pocket in a cigarette pack. An old hypodermic needle was also found in his pocket.

Colwell is under a $9,000 bond and he will be in court on the charges August 14th.

Darrell L. Salinas was charged Monday, August 4th with driving under the influence, a second offense of driving on a suspended license, and violation of the open container law.

Sergeant Joey Jones reports that "On August 4th at Village Market on Highway 56, Salinas was operating a motor vehicle and was passed out. He was very hard to arouse. He had very slurred speech and was very unsteady on his feet. He performed very poorly on all field sobriety tasks and he did take a blood test ." When the officer arrived, the engine of Salinas' vehicle was still running. A computer check revealed that Salinas' license was suspended on September 13th, 2005 in Cannon County. Also upon his arrest for DUI, the officer found in the console of the vehicle, an open can of beer.

Salinas is under a $4,000 bond and he will be in court on the charges August 14th.

Liberty and Dowelltown Voters Elect City Leaders

August 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

Voters in Liberty and Dowelltown elected city leaders Thursday.

In Liberty, three aldermen were elected from a field of four candidates.

Incumbents Paul M. Neal and Dwight Mathis were re-elected but Incumbent Jerry W. Johnson lost his bid for re-election to challenger Todd Dodd.

Dodd led the ticket with a total of 70 votes followed by Neal with 67 votes and Mathis with 54 votes. Johnson received 47 votes.

Meanwhile in Dowelltown, Mayor Gerald W. Bailiff was elected unopposed with 40 complimentary votes.

Joe L. Bogle was re-elected alderman with 32 votes and Elizabeth A. Redmon, a newcomer to the board, was elected with 34 votes. Both Bogle and Redmon were unopposed.

Bain and Weaver Win Primary Nominations in State Representative Race

August 7, 2008
Dwayne Page
Cleveland Derrick Bain
Terri Lynn Weaver

Democrat Cleveland Derrick Bain and Republican Terri Lynn Weaver won their party's nominations for State Representative in Thursday's Tennessee Primaries.

Weaver swept all three counties, DeKalb, Macon, and Smith, easily beating challenger Nicky Rittenberry for the GOP nomination 2,020 to 547.

Bain did not carry either of the three counties in his primary race, but finished a strong second place in both DeKalb and Smith Counties, and came in third place in Macon County. His total vote in the three counties combined put him on top, beating out Dean Sircy by 135 votes, 1,200 to 1,065.

Gayla Hendrix carried DeKalb County with 696 votes. Sarah Marie Smith won her home county, Smith County with 673 votes, and Sircy carried his home county, Macon County with 729 votes.

District wide, Sarah Marie Smith finished third with 914 votes, while Gayla Hendrix received 900 votes with a fourth place finish.

In DeKalb County Hendrix carried 11 of the 16 precincts in the Democratic Primary along with early voting/absentees, Bain carried three precincts, Smith carried one and Steven Cantrell carried one precinct. In the GOP race, Weaver carried all 16 DeKalb County precincts along with early voting/absentees. Click on www.wjle.com/node/37 to view the precinct by precinct results for each candidate.

The following are the county by county results for Bain:

DeKalb -540
Smith-- 525
Macon- 135
TOTAL- 1,200

Results for Sircy:

DeKalb- 88
Smith- 248
Macon- 729
Total- 1,065

Results for Smith:
DeKalb- 78
Total- 914

Results for Hendrix:

DeKalb- 696
Smith- 168
Macon- 36
Total- 900

Results for Steven K. Cantrell:

DeKalb- 78
Smith-- 44
Macon- 16
Total- 138

Results for Carl (Hix) Jones:

DeKalb- 3
Smith- 15
Macon- 87
Total- 105

Results for Jeff Barrett:

DeKalb- 43
Smith- 28
Macon- 13
Total- 84

The following arre the county by county results for Weaver:

DeKalb- 456
Smith- 816
Total- 2,020

Results for Rittenberry:

DeKalb- 29
Smith- 76
Macon- 442
Total 547

Bain, Weaver, and Independent candidate Ray Amalfitano of Dixon Springs will square off in the November General Election for the 40th State House seat, which is being vacated by the retiring Frank Buck.

Meanwhile in U.S. Senate Democratic Primary, Mark E. Clayton carried DeKalb County with 277 votes followed by Robert D. Tuke with 211, Gary G. Davis 201, WM Mike Padgett 74, Kenneth Eaton 73, and Leonard D. Ladner with 20 votes.

Sixth District Congressman Bart Gordon was unopposed Thursday in the Democratic Primary and received 1,148 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. He will also be unopposed in November.

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, also unopposed in the Republican Primary Thursday, received 419 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. He will face the Democratic nominee, Robert D. Tuke in November.

On the retention of state judges, the following are the results in DeKalb County:

Supreme Court Judge William Koch:
Yes- 721, No- 406

Supreme Court Judge Gary Wade:
Yes- 665, No- 394

Court of Appeals Judge Andy Bennett:
Yes- 674, No- 371

Court of Appeals Judge Richard Dinkins:
Yes- 647, No 388

Court of Appeals Judge Steve Stafford:
Yes- 668, No- 393

Court of Criminal Appeals Judge Camille McMullen:
Yes- 670, No- 373

Court of Criminal Appeals Judge D. Kelly Thomas:
Yes- 669, No-367

Evins, Parsley Win School Board Races

August 7, 2008
Dwayne Page
Bruce Parsley and Dub Evins

W.J. (Dub) Evins III won re-election to the DeKalb County Board of Education from the fifth district during Thursday night's DeKalb County General Election, while Bruce Parsley unseated incumbent Linda Fuston in the sixth district.

Evins defeated challenger, Larry Evans, 222 votes to 129 votes. Evins carried both fifth district precincts, Smithville Elementary School and Johnson's Chapel, and also claimed victory in early voting and absentee votes. Evins had 79 early/absentee votes to Evans' 43. At Smithville Elementary School, Evins had 104 votes to Evans' 69, while at Johnson's Chapel, Evins had 39 votes to Evans' 17.

In the sixth district race, despite losing early voting/absentees, Parsley carried all three precincts in the sixth district to unseat Fuston. Parsley totaled 176 votes to 129 for Fuston. Fuston carried early voting/absentees with 51 votes to Parsley's 30, but Parsley carried Belk with 46 votes to Fuston's 15. Parsley also received 39 votes at Blue Springs, while Fuston had 30, and in Keltonburg, Parsley had 61 votes to Fuston's 33.

All six constable candidates were elected unopposed Thursday. Their vote totals are as follows:

First District: No Candidate
Second District: Reed Edge- 147
Third District: Wayne Vanderpool- 202
Fourth District: Paul Cantrell- 176
Fifth District: Mark Milam- 199
Sixth District: Cantrell Jones- 177
Seventh District: Johnny King- 135


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