Local News Articles

City Firefighters Take Demo Ladder Truck For Test Run

January 11, 2012
Dwayne Page
City Firefighters Set Up Ladder Truck at the old Cantrell's Jewelry Building
City Firefighters On Ladder Truck Downtown
1,500 hundred gallon a minute nozzle in use at the top of the Ladder

Smithville volunteer firefighters have long wanted an aerial (ladder) truck and for the last few days they've had one. While its only a demo model and doesn't belong to the city, Fire Chief Charlie Parker told WJLE that it's the kind of truck Smithville really needs.

City firefighters gave the truck a test run on Saturday, setting up at various places in town where such a vehicle could best be used and extending the 75 foot ladder to reach taller buildings and hard to get to structures and roof tops. Firefighters took the truck out again Tuesday night to Northside Elementary School

Chief Parker said the demo truck will be leaving town this week but he is hopeful that a grant, for which the city has applied, will be awarded soon so that the city could get financial assistance to purchase an aerial truck for the fire department to serve the citizens of Smithville. "It's a demo truck that's actually passing through from EVS Mid South Company. Its passing through Tennessee so we managed to get it for a few days here in Smithville. We've been trying it out at different places around the city to see how it will best fit our needs. We've been trying to purchase a ladder truck for a while. We've got a Firefighters Assistance Grant that we've applied for. We did a study last spring. We've looked at two or three different sizes of trucks but we've determined that a 75 foot aerial device best suits our needs. Its not going to fit on 100% of the calls but we feel that with the population in the city and the number of firefighters we have to utilize, we believe it will be a best fit for us on residential and commercial fires. We have a lot more residential fires than commercial but this size truck will fit with one story and two story houses. A 75 foot ladder will give us a pretty good reach. It also has a 1,750 gallon per minute pump on it so we've got a pretty good amount of water supply for a fire. This particular truck has a 1,500 hundred gallon a minute nozzle on it which can be remotely operated from the base of the truck so you don't have to put a firefighter in danger. It provides a pretty good amount of water in an elevated stream so we can get it up to a two story house or the roof area when you really need water up high. The demo price on this truck is around $680,000 on a brand new truck. The grant process is underway. They've been awarding grants since December. They award them periodically until the grant money runs out. We have applied for a grant to buy a truck and for some additional equipment. We're hoping to hear something any time," said Chief Parker.

"I do want to say thanks to Wink Brown and EVS Mid South for allowing us to use the demo truck for a day or two. I know they're trying to sell trucks but its been a big asset to our department to let our city council see the truck up close and the capabilities and safety benefits of this truck so we just want to express our appreciation to them for allowing us to bring it to town for a few days," said Chief Parker.

Last June, the aldermen voted to hire a grant writer to seek a federal matching grant for the purchase of a ladder truck. If approved, the city would have to match five percent of the cost.

Goggin Warehouse Employee Charged with Theft

January 10, 2012
Dwayne Page
Daniel R. Page

An employee of Goggin Warehouse has been charged with stealing catalytic converters from the company and selling them at a local recycling center.

34 year old Daniel R. Page will be in court on January 19 on a charge of theft over $1,000. His bond is $5,000.

Chief Randy Caplinger told WJLE Friday that the Smithville Police Department was contacted on December 28 about the theft at the warehouse on Hobson Street. After an investigation, police charged Page, an employee of the warehouse, with stealing eight catalytic converters and selling them at a recycling business. Each of the converters is valued at $200.

21 year old Jennifer Koon is charged with two counts of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetamine and oxycodone) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court on January 12.

Chief Caplinger said that police stopped an SUV for speeding on East Broad Street on December 30. Four persons were inside the vehicle including Koon, who was a passenger. After they began acting suspiciously, police summoned the K-9 officer to the scene and he deployed the drug dog. The canine indicated on the driver side door of the SUV. The officers conducted a search of the vehicle. A black jacket was found in the rear seat. Inside the jacket was a small tin can containing two red plastic baggies with a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine, a glass pill vial with an oval blue pill, six cut straws, and a razor blade. Police determined that the items belonged to Koon.

22 year old Porsche Cantrell is cited for shoplifting Chief Caplinger reports that police were called to Walmart on December 21 on a shoplifting complaint. Cantrell was found to have a few items from the store on her person that had not been purchased. She was observed by a store employee entering a bathroom. After she came out, an employee entered the restroom and found empty packages. Cantrell was confronted and police were notified. She will be in court on February 9.

23 year old Steven Shane Clanahan is cited for simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. According to Chief Caplinger, police were called to do a welfare check on a vehicle in the roadway on Duncan Street. The automobile had no working lights. The officer arrived and made contact with the driver, Clanahan. A strong odor of marijuana could be smelled from inside the vehicle. Clanahan consented to a search and the officer found on Clanahan two hand rolled cigarettes containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana. Five smoked joints (roaches) were also found in the automobile. Clanahan will be in court on January 12.

32 year old Ken Bly is cited for shoplifting from Walmart on New Year's Day. Chief Caplinger said that an employee saw Bly leave the building with several items that had not been purchased. Before he could be confronted, Bly came back in the store and turned in a wrench set he had allegedly taken. However, police found motion lights in Bly's vehicle which were also allegedly taken from the store and had not been paid for. Bly will be in court on the charge February 2.

30 year old Jessica Bilbrey is cited for shoplifting from the Dollar General Store on January 2. She was allegedly caught trying to leave the store with several items in her purse that she had not paid for.

28 year old Ryan Walden is cited for shoplifting, accused of taking two packs of arrow tips from Walmart on December 21. Chief Caplinger said that a store employee observed the theft and Walden was allegedly found with these items on his person

24 year old Jamaal League is charged with public intoxication and burglary of an automobile. His bond is $6,000 and he will be in court on January 19. Chief Caplinger said that on January 3 police were called to Suncrest Home Health where someone was apparently trying to break into the building. The employees inside had locked the door to keep the man from entering. The man, League, had allegedly made entry into a vehicle in the parking lot and took the car keys, which were inside. When police arrived, League was standing outside the vehicle and he tossed the car keys on the ground. He had an odor of alcohol on his person. League was taken into custody.

21 year old Alexis Petty is charged with domestic assault. She will be in court on January 12. Chief Caplinger reports that police were called to a residence on West Bryant Street on December 21 to investigate a fight between two females. The women had already been separated by the time the officer arrived. The women said that a verbal argument between the two turned physical. Petty was determined to be the primary aggressor and she was charged in the case.

32 year old Jack Mullican is cited for shoplifting on January 5.. Chief Caplinger said Mullican was observed taking a playstation II memory card and other things from Walmart. The items were allegedly found on him.

47 year old Timothy Johnson and 39 year old Janet Mayo are charged with simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Chief Caplinger said that police stopped a vehicle for a front headlight out on East Broad Street on December 26. Both Johnson and Mayo were in the automobile. The officer found two bags containing a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine and two hollowed out ink pens. Police also found a bottle of hydrocodone, needles, spoon, and rubber bands.

28 year old Jason Knowles is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on January 12. According to Chief Caplinger, police were called to Snow Street on January 5 to check out a complaint of a physical domestic assault. The officer was advised by central dispatch that the man involved was gathering items and preparing to leave the scene in a Honda car. The officer arrived and kept Knowles from leaving. The victim told police that she and Knowles got in a verbal argument which became physical as he allegedly tried to take the phone from her. Police reported that the woman's mouth was bleeding and two of her teeth were dislodged.

18 year old Michael Braswell is charged with simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Chief Caplinger said Braswell was stopped for speeding on College Street on December 31. The officer detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. Braswell allegedly admitted to having marijuana and a pipe and he turned them over to the officer.

42 year old Jeffery Lee Bates is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on January 26. Chief Caplinger said that Bates was arrested outside his home on Bright Hill Road after creating a disturbance. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. According to Chief Caplinger, Bates had earlier parked his girlfriend's vehicle at a business on West Broad Street near Walmart and then walked across the street to Walmart, where he called central dispatch to report that his girlfriend's vehicle had been stolen. Police arrived and spoke with Bates in the parking lot of Walmart, telling him that the owner of the vehicle would have to make the report. Bates got a ride home and later called again to report that the automobile was stolen. Police came to Bates residence on Bright Hill Road and arrested him. The vehicle was found still parked where Bates had left it at a business on West Broad Street.

Community Improvement Award Presented to Gassaway Family

January 10, 2012
Community Improvement Award Presented to Gassaway Family

The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce recently presented a Community Improvement Award to the Gassaway Family for renovations to their home at 203 North Mountain Street, Smithville.

The house was originally built by H.A. Fowler and wife between 1911 and 1912. It was later owned by E. J. Evans and wife in 1912, by Estell Dearman in 1915 and then by James Carlyn Moore in 1919 who then sold it to J.A. Conger in 1927. The home has been the residence of five generations of the Conger family members, starting with James Alvin and Emma Parker Conger, then to Alvin Parker and Otha Dell Conger and their four children, one of whom is Hilton Conger. The residence is now the home of Julianna Conger Gassaway and her four children. It was recently painstakingly restored by Harold Bain of HBC Contractor, LLC.

In the picture: Left to right - bottom row - Jack, Katherine, Ealy, and Parker Gassaway - second row - Julianna Conger Gassaway - top row - Carol Conger Buchanan, Jane Conger DePriest, John Conger, and Hilton Conger.

Smithville Begins Adding Fluoride to City Water Supply

January 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
New liquid fluoride feeder system
New liquid fluoride holding tanks
New liquid fluoride feeder system at water treatment plant

The Smithville water treatment plant will begin fluoridating the city's water supply again starting Tuesday, January 10, according to Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson.

Though neither a state or federal requirement, the new liquid fluoride system was installed as part of the rehabilitation of the water plant, according to the wishes of city officials and members of the general public

The city stopped fluoridating the water more than three years ago after the old powdered fluoride feeder system broke down..

At the April 6th, 2009 meeting, Smithville physician Dr. Steven Cooper and dentist Dr. Mitchell Tatum addressed the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen asking that the fluoridation be re-activated for the benefit of the citizens.

Concerned citizen Gary Durham, who first raised the issue several weeks prior to the April 6th meeting, expressed his concern that the city never fixed the problem when it occurred and that city leaders never notified the public when the fluoride treatment had been discontinued

At the April 20, 2009 meeting, the aldermen voted 5-0 to re-activate fluoridation of the city's water supply

At that meeting, Alderman Steve White made a motion that the treatment be started again, and to let the public know when, but that the city first consult with officials of Wauford Engineering Company about whether the new fluoride machines should be installed at that time or included as part of the design of the rehabilitation of the Water Treatment Plant. Tonya Sullivan, who was also Alderman at that time, requested that any needed safety equipment to support the fluoride treatment procedure also be purchased before the process is begun.

Instead of repairing the old system, city officials later decided to include a new liquid fluoride feeder system in the bid specs for the rehab of the water treatment plant. The construction bid for the overall rehab project was awarded to W&O Construction of Livingston in February 2010 and the work began in August, 2010. The rehab project is now almost completed.

Sheriff Ray Releases Activity Report for 2011

January 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Sheriff Patrick Ray has released the "Activity Report" from his department for the calendar year
January 1, 2011-December 31, 2011.

The report shows a total of 7886 incident calls for the year. According to Sheriff Ray "These are dispatched calls, not self-initiated calls (incidents that officers respond to on routine patrols). Self-initiated calls are not included in these counts:

The report breaks down as follows:

Calls Reported
Wrecks- 758
4 wheeler calls- 61
911 calls- 205
Abandoned Vehicles- 18
Animal calls- 320
Assaults- 37
Armed Suspects- 14
Fires and Fire Alarms- 153
Break-ins- 594
Burglar Alarms- 476
Child Custody Exchanges- 24
Children in roadway- 12
Civil Matters- 48
Debris in roadway- 61
Disturbing the peace- 147
Deaths- 33
Domestic violence- 512
Drownings- 6
Drug trafficking- 66
Funeral Escorts- 266
Extra Patrols- 54
Fights- 111
Gas drive-offs- 8
Harassments- 40
Indecent exposure- 3
Investigations- 427
Vehicle lockouts- 982
Medical Assists- 213
Possible D.U.I.- 171
Public Intoxication calls- 15
Rape- 7
Reckless Drivers- 316
Recover Property- 51
Robbery- 18
Seizures- 17
Shots fired- 71
Shop lifter- 4
Stranded motorists- 118
Someone threatened- 100
Stabbing- 5
Attempt/ and Suicide calls- 33
Suspicious persons/vehicles- 552
Traffic Hazards- 93
Trespassing- 15
Unruly juveniles- 43
Unwanted guests- 192
Vandalism- 85
Wanted Persons- 80
Welfare checks- 251

Total 7886 incident calls

Two Men Charged with Domestic Assault

January 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Victor Glen Gingerich
Clifton Eugene Brown
Robert Justin Luna

Two men, 42 year old Victor Glen Gingerich and 51 year old Clifton Eugene Brown, were arrested by the sheriff's department over the weekend in separate domestic assault incidents

Gingerich of Brooke Lane, Sparta (DeKalb County) is charged with assault, domestic assault, and resisting arrest. His bond is $7,500 and he will be in court on January 19. Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that deputies responded to a residence on Brooke Lane in DeKalb County on a domestic call Sunday, January 8. Officers knocked on the door but no one answered even though they could see Gingerich inside the home. An open cell phone was found on the porch and the officers could hear movement coming from inside the house. Witnesses heard a female say "don't hit me or push me". They also heard Gingerich say that he was going to kill the female. Witnesses further reported hearing a loud bang from inside as if someone had been thrown against the wall. After the officers forcibly entered the home and broke up the fight, Gingerich allegedly elbowed a deputy in the face. Refusing to be handcuffed, Gingerich had to be taken down to the floor by the deputies. After Gingerich was handcuffed, he allegedly spit in the face of an officer.

Brown is charged with domestic assault. He was also cited for simple possession. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court February 16. According to Sheriff Ray, Brown was arrested Saturday, January 7 on Halls Hollow Road after allegedly assaulting a woman by pushing her against furniture, cutting her arm, slapping her, and throwing her to the floor. Brown also allegedly disconnected the phones so she could not call for help. As Brown was being arrested and padded down by the officer, a metal bottle containing two pills was found in his front pocket. The pills were believed to be soma.

33 year old James Fredrick Summers of Hodges Road, Smithville is charged with a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $6,000 and he will be in court on January 12. Sheriff Ray reports that on Friday, January 6 a deputy pulled over Summers' vehicle on Highway 146 for no seatbelts. A computer check revealed that his license had been revoked for a DUI and other offenses in DeKalb and Warren County.

63 year old Curtis Charles Jones is charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on January 12. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy stopped Jones' vehicle on Highway 146 Friday, January 6 because he had prior knowledge that Jones' license was revoked. A computer check confirmed that Jones' license had been revoked for a DUI in DeKalb County on October 13, 2011.

26 year old Robert Justin Luna of Joe Turner Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on February 2. Sheriff Ray said that Luna allegedly took two steel beams from property on Joe Turner Road Friday, January 6 and sold them at a local recycling business.

49 year old Earl Joseph Yost of Brooke Lane, Sparta is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence. He was also cited for failure to maintain lane of travel. His bond totals $4,500 and he will be in court on February 16. Sheriff Ray said that Yost was involved in a property damage accident on Highway 70 Saturday, January 7. He was operating a vehicle and allegedly left his lane of travel and went off the roadway resulting in a one vehicle crash with no injuries. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was unsteady on his feet. Yost submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He submitted to a blood test. He was believed to have been under the influence of alcohol and or drugs.

23 year old Bailey E. Craft of Stone Hill Road, Mount Juliet is cited for driving on a suspended license and violation of the registration law. She will be in court on March 14. According to Sheriff Ray, an officer stopped Craft's vehicle on Highway 70 Saturday, January 7 for expired tags. A computer check revealed her drivers license to be suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in Davidson County.

33 year old Cesar Santos is cited for driving on a suspended license and driving on a roadway lane for traffic (failure to maintain lane of travel). He will be in court on March 14. Sheriff Ray said that a deputy pulled over Santos' vehicle on New Home Road Saturday, January 7 after he observed it cross the center line several times. A computer check revealed that Santos' license was suspended for failure to satisfy a citation.

51 year old Jayma Royce Holcomb of South College Street, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court February 16. Sheriff Ray reports that Holcomb was operating a vehicle on Highway 56 Sunday, January 8 when she became involved in a property damage accident. She had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and she was unsteady on her feet. Holcomb submitted to and performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. She also took a blood test. She was believed to be under the influence of alcohol and or drugs.

29 year old Randy E. Johnson of Cookeville Highway is cited for driving on a suspended license and violation of the open container law. He will be in court on February 15. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, January 8, a deputy pulled over Johnson and a computer check revealed that his license were suspended in Georgia. Johnson had an open can of beer in the vehicle.

DeKalb County to Remain in 6th Congressional District Under Redistricting Plan

January 7, 2012
Dwayne Page
Congressman Diane Black

DeKalb County would remain in U.S. Representative Diane Black's 6th Congressional District under a proposed redistricting plan released on Wednesday.

Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and Speaker of the House Beth Harwell (R-Nashville) released their joint proposal to redraw Tennessee's nine congressional districts on Wednesday to equalize populations and make them more compact and based on logical groupings of communities of common interest.

The 2010 census revealed that three of Tennessee's districts deviated from their ideal population of 705,123 by more than 80,000 people. Federal law requires that congressional districts be exactly equal in population.

The 6th district is currently made up of Bedford, Cannon, Clay, DeKalb, Jackson, Macon, Marshall, Overton, Putnam, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale and a part of Wilson County.

The new 6th district would consist of seventeen counties including Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Robertson, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, White, and Wilson along with small portions of two counties, Cheatham and Van Buren.


Under the plan, Congressman Black would be losing Bedford, Marshall, and Rutherford County but she would pick up Coffee, Cumberland, Fentress, Pickett, White and all of Wilson County, as well as a small portion of Cheatham and Van Buren Counties.

In addition to equalizing population counts, Harwell and Ramsey said their proposed map would correct decades of illogical gerrymandering by Democratic-led legislatures and better recognize Tennessee's regional distinctions.

Under the Speakers' proposal, all three East Tennessee districts would be entirely in East Tennessee and both West Tennessee districts would be entirely in the West Grand Division. Four districts would be anchored in Middle Tennessee and no district geographically resembles the sprawling 4th and 7th districts of the last two decades.

To meet the strict zero deviation population mandates set down by federal courts, the plan splits just eight counties, two fewer than the 10 counties split in the map approved in 2002.

Counties divided between two districts include: Shelby, Benton, Van Buren, Maury, Cheatham, Campbell, Bradley, and Jefferson. Four of those eight divided counties are predominantly located in one district, with less than two precincts separated into an adjacent district.

Shelby County, with a population of 927,644 is larger than a single congressional district by itself. For thirty years, Shelby's population was scattered among three separate districts but under the Speakers' plan, Shelby would be split between just two districts.

The voices of the state's two large federal installations, Ft. Campbell and the Oak Ridge Department of Energy facilities, would become more unified under the Speakers' map than they were in the 2002 map, with Roane and Anderson Counties, fully united in the Third District and Stewart and Montgomery Counties united in the 7th district.

Eight of the nine districts will have at populations that are at least 14% new if the map becomes law. Only the First District, cordoned into the state's northeastern corner by North Carolina and Virginia, will remain essentially unchanged from the 2002 map.

Hale Picks Up Petition To Run For School Board

January 7, 2012
Dwayne Page

One person has already picked up a petition to run for the school board in the fifth district.

Kevin D. Hale of Dearman Street plans to seek the position currently held by W.J. (Dub) Evins, III.

Petitions for the 5th and 6th district school board races can now be picked up at the DeKalb County Election Commission office.

School board members, who run as non-partisan candidates, are elected in even-numbered years in August with the membership being staggered. In August 2012, members in Districts 5 and 6 are to be elected. The qualifying deadline for this election is NOON, April 5.

Sixth district member Bruce Parsley, who was elected to the school board in 2008, resigned effective December 31, 2011. Parsley told WJLE Friday that the reason he stepped down is because he is furthering his education seeking to become a teacher. He is already serving as a substitute teacher. Under state law, teachers apparently cannot serve as members of the board of education.

Jack Campbell Re-elected to FSA County Committee

January 6, 2012

Lindsay Locke, Acting County Executive Director of the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency, says the DeKalb FSA County Committee met in regular session on Tuesday, December 6 to canvass and tabulate the ballots received in the 2011 Local Administrative Area (LAA) # 2 County Committee Election. The deadline to return ballots was December 5.

Jack Campbell was re-elected to serve as a member on the Committee representing LAA-2. His second term began January 1, 2011. Mike Conley was elected as the 1st Alternate.

In addition, the Committee held its Organizational Meeting on December 6, 2011. The Committee selected Timmie Adcock to serve as Chairperson, Jack Campbell to serve as Vice-Chairperson, and Mary Sanders to serve as Member.

Locke says that the DeKalb FSA County Committee and office staff wishes to express their appreciation to voters in LAA-2 who participated in the election by voting and returning their ballots. "The local County Committees are a very important part of Farm Service Agency's program delivery and administrative processes. I do not know of any other agency providing federal programs that can say that the delivery and decision making efforts are made on the local level by a farmer-elected committee," added Locke.

For more information about FSA's County Committees or other program inquiries, call 597-8225 (extension 2) or come by the DeKalb County Farm Service Agency office at 647 Bright Hill Street in Smithville. You can also visit the agency's web site at: www.fsa.usda.gov.

Infinity Athletics Allstars Receive 2nd Place at COA Rocky Top Championship

January 6, 2012
Infinity Athletics Allstars

The Infinity Athletics Allstars received 2nd place at their latest competition at Nashville Municipal Auditorium on Saturday, December 10th.

The next event will be the last Tennessee competition on Saturday, February 11th at Nashville Municipal Auditorium. Then, the final competition will be the Cheersport Nationals in Atlanta, Georgia February 17-19th. Anyone interested in coming to a competition to support the All Stars and needs more information, please call Infinity Athletics at 215-9050. We would like to thank everyone for all their support.

Pictured are Top Row (L-R): Coach Jennifer Sykes, Kenzie France, Shaunta Koegler, Madison Colwell, and Callie Mulloy
Bottom Row (L-R): Shelby Sprague, Chloe Sykes, Emme Colwell, and Alley Sykes
Not Pictured: Katherine Clendenen


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