Local News Articles

Reps. Pody and Weaver Vote To Repeal Death Tax, Cut Food Tax

April 12, 2012
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
State Representative Mark Pody

The pocketbooks of all Tennesseans are getting help from the Legislature with the passage of two major tax cuts.

The House of Representatives today overwhelmingly approved the repeal of the death tax and the reduction of the food tax on two separate votes. Both bills have long been a major priority for many Members of the House Republican Caucus who believe the bills will help taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money and place Tennessee on better economic footing.

“This is a landmark moment for Tennesseans,” stated House Speaker Beth Harwell (R—Nashville). “We believe, when government revenues are higher, that money doesn’t belong to the State but to taxpayers and should be returned to them immediately. Our Republican Majority was placed here to balance the budget, cut wasteful spending, and lower taxes. Today we carried through on that promise.”

House Bill 3760, the death tax repeal, phases out the death tax over the next four years, to a complete repeal by 2016. House Bill 3761, the food tax cut, lowers the sales tax rate on food from the current 5.5% to 5.25%, the steepest reduction in years.

Representative Linda Elam (R—Mount Juliet) stated, “I am proud to help pass these tax cuts. The Governor asked to work with us on lowering the food tax and this is the product of that hard work. The repeal of the death tax will help our job creators and the food tax cut will benefit every Tennessean.”

“I know how much the death tax hurts our family farms,” added Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R—Lancaster). “The repeal of the death tax will benefit those of us who are committed to protecting the unique farming heritage of Tennessee. Additionally, the food tax cut is a move consistent with my principles to reduce wasteful government spending and return that money to the people.”

“Today is an exciting day. We looked at the numbers, rolled our sleeves up, and worked with Governor Haslam to come up with two bills that will really benefit all Tennesseans. The repeal of the death tax is especially noteworthy because it will help convince the job creators in our State to remain here and help grow our economy. This doesn’t benefit one group; it benefits any Tennessean who is concerned about job growth,” concluded Representative Mark Pody (R—Lebanon).

The bills are now sent to the Senate for action which is expected to come in the next week.

DeKalb Countians Urged to Support the Make-A-Wish Foundation

April 12, 2012
Dwayne Page
Beth Torres

DeKalb Countians are urged to join in helping make dreams come true for children with life threatening illnesses.

Since 1980, the Make-A-Wish Foundation has given hope, strength and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions through its wish-granting work. The Foundation's mission reflects the life-changing impact that a Make-A-Wish experience has on children, families, referral sources, donors, sponsors, and entire communities.

Beth Torres, President and CEO of Make-A-Wish for Middle Tennessee, told WJLE Wednesday that the foundation is looking to serve families here in DeKalb County. "The Make-A--Wish Foundation offers wishes to children who are facing life threatening illness between the ages of two and a half to eighteen. We know there are kids here (in DeKalb County) who are facing a life threatening illness and we want to make sure they get their wish. In order to make that happen we need to know the kids are here and then find volunteers who are willing to help make that happen," said Torres.

"We are looking at kids who are facing a life threatening illness. It will, for most of them, be temporary. They'll go through chemo, radiation, and some extended treatment. Most of our children survive. But we want every child who has to face this illness and their families to know that we're here for them," said Torres.

According to Torres, the Make-A- Wish Foundation began thirty two years ago. "In 1980 there was a child in Arizona named Chris, and his lifelong dream was to be a police officer. When he got sick a group of local community people got together and said they were going to make this happen for him. They got him out, got him a little uniform, put him in a police car, and he got to spend the day being a police officer. What we found was that when he was back in the hospital getting his treatment, it was that experience that gave him hope, strength, and joy. We're looking for the child's heartfelt wish and as long as its something we can make happen, we will make it happen. Some of our kids want to go on shopping sprees, so we make that happen. Going to Disney is a huge Make-A-Wish project. Kids love to go to Disney. We've got kids who want to travel or meet celebrities or attend events. We make all of those happen. We want them (parents) to know we're here for their kids and we want to know if there are kids out here with a life threatening illness that we can help, " said Torres.

"We'll take referrals for any child ages two and a half to eighteen. We don't care what their race, religion, or income is. We're here for all the kids," she said.

"All of our support comes from Middle Tennessee," said Torres. We work in thirty eight counties. The money comes from those counties and stays in those counties. We look for corporations who want to sponsor a wish as well as individuals and foundations. It doesn't matter how big or small a donation is, it makes a huge difference in a child's life," she said.

The easiest way to find out more about Make-A Wish is to visit the foundation's website www.middletennessee.wish.org. "All of the referral papers are on there along with all of our contact information at the office. You're certainly welcome to contact us and ask any questions. DeKalb County is part of the responsibility of Middle Tennessee's Chapter, which is the chapter that I work for and we serve all of the thirty eight counties in the middle of the state. We're definitely looking for local contacts, people who are passionate about working with kids. So that's what we're here to do. Hospital (referrals) are probably the easiest for us. We have social workers and doctors who will refer children but we also work through private organizations and individual families who refer their children," said Torres.

DCHS Graduation Set for May 18

April 10, 2012
Dwayne Page
Adam James
Heather Vidal
Victoria Tatrow

A total of 177 students make up the Class of 2012 at DeKalb County High School and the seniors will receive their diplomas during graduation exercises Friday, May 18th at 7:00 p.m. on the high school football field.


The program will feature remarks by the Valedictorian, Adam James and Class President Victoria Tatrow.

The prestigious White Rose and Citizenship Awards will also be presented by DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix to three outstanding members of the class. Diplomas will be presented to each graduate by Director of Schools Mark Willoughby. The DCHS Chorus will perform.

Meanwhile the DCHS Senior Awards Day program will be Thursday, May 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the gym. Scholarship awards will be presented.

During the graduation exercises, the honor students will be recognized including the 2012 Valedictorian Adam James and the Salutatorian Heather Vidal.

Students among the top twenty five senior academic ranking from numbers one to twenty five are as follows:
Adam James, Heather Vidal, Whitney England, Laura Martinez, Briana Vidal, Hailey Perry, Heather Hughes, Jessica Garrison, Jonathan Edwards, Erin Colwell, Jessica Ball, Alex Meadows, Victoria Tatrow, Riley Young, Lela Ambrose, Katie Merriman, Laura Pafford, Abigail Hendrix, Allison Little, Mason Merriman, Talisa Cantrell, Elizabeth Sanders, Brooke Hutchings, Sydney Robinson, and Joseph Angaran

Students earning "Highest Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.8 to 4.0 are:
Adam James, Valedictorian 4.0; Heather Vidal, Salutatorian 4.0, Jessica D. Ball 4.0, Erin L. Colwell 4.0, Jonathan D. Edwards 4.0, Whitney N. England 4.0, Jessica B. Garrison 4.0, Heather M. Hughes 4.0, Laura E. Martinez 4.0, Hailey D. Perry 4.0, Victoria D. Tatrow 4.0, Briana Vidal 4.0, Christopher R. Young 4.0, Lela E. Ambrose, Joseph L. Angaran, Talisa M. Cantrell, Taylor M. Cantrell, Morgan S. Garrett, Abigail Hendrix, Nicholaus T. Henry, Morgan B. Hutchings, Allison Little, Alexandria Meadows, Katie L. Merriman, Mason B. Merriman, Jacob A. Odom, Laura S. Pafford, Sydney Robinson, Elizabeth Sanders, Krystal T. White, and Austin T. Willmore

Students earning "High Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.6 to 3.79 include Chelsea L. Cantrell, Megan L. Cantrell, Yesenia L Cintron, Alicia D. Crook, Jamie Florence, James D. Freeney, Tiffini Hendrixson, Johnna G. Hensley, Sarah L. Jones, David S. Phillips, Kidman D. Puckett, Lindsay B. Snyder, Erik Z. Thompson, and Alyssa A. Young.

Those earning "Distinction" with a grade point average of 3.2 to 3.59 include Christian J. Atnip, Michael W. Caldwell, Tiffany D. Cantrell, Tiffany A. Celestino, Emily B Dawson, Jasmine M. Dimas, Katy J. England, John B. Foster, Quinton R. Harbaugh, Allyson R. Judkins, Danielle L. Knowles, Mary F. Knowles, Monserrat Leon, Xing (Tammy) Q. Li, Renny A. Mason, Preston S. Melton, Lorrie M. Merriman, Kalli A. Mitchell, Samanvi R. Munagala, Tevin M. Owens, Bradley C. Pack, Stephanie C. Rackley, Johnna R. Roller, Kayla D. Self, Laura A. Sullivan, and Ashlee M. Whitehead

Members of the DCHS Class of 2012 are as follows:

Alexander J. Ader, William A. Ader, Lela Ambrose, Joseph Angaran, Jordan Arnold, Christian Atnip, Andrew Atnip, Justin Avera

Terry Bain, Jessica Ball, Thomas Beltz, Macie Bouldin, Micheal Braswell, Dustin Brown, Jennifer Butler,

Michael Caldwell, Chelsea Cantrell, Megan Cantrell, Talisa Cantrell, Taylor Cantrell, Tiffany Cantrell, Austin Carlson, Juan Carrillo, Tiffany Celestino, Yesenia Cintron, Erin Colwell, Jakob Craven, Alex Cripps, Jackson Cripps, Alicia Crook, Chelsea Crutcher, Adam Cubbins,

Tanner Davis, Emily Dawson, Jasmine Dimas, Rebecca Duffield,

Jonathan Edwards, Matthew Elliott, Katy England, Whitney England, Gage Estes,

Jeremie Ferdelman, Zacharias Ferrell, Jamie Florence, Brady Foster, Dylan Freeney, Caleb Furnival,

Benjamin Gard, Sloane Garrett, Jessica Garrison, Jordan Gash, Zachary Goldstein, Katelyn Goodwin, Clayton Gott, Joseph Gray, Hannah Green, Lucas Griffin, Jonathan Griffin,

Steven Haas, Kara Hackett, Quintin Harbaugh, Todd Hasty, John Hayes, Abigail Hendrix, Tiffini Hendrixson, Nicholaus Henry, Johnna Hensley, Taylor Hensley, Jessie Herman, Savannah Hershman, Heather Hughes, Hunter Humphrey, Brooke Hutchings,

Adam James, Jessie James, Kaitlin Jennings, Matthew Johnson, Garrett Johnson, Ian Johnson, Kenneth Johnson, Sarah Jones, Heather Jones, Stephanie Jones, Allyson Judkins

Alexander Keith, Clay Kilgore, Danielle Knowles, Mary Knowles, Tabitha Knowles,

Jeremy Landsem, Steven Lawrence, Amanda Laxton, Monserrat Leon, Tammy Li, Allison Little, Aurora Little, Sarah Lomas, Erika Lucio,

Zachery Malone, Laura Martinez, Renny Mason, Wesley Mason, Andrew McCoy, Cheyenne McDaniel, Alexandria Meadows, Preston Melton, Corey Merriman, Katie Merriman, Lorrie Merriman, Mason Merriman, Kalli Mitchell, Terry Mollinet, Justin Moore, Samanvi Munagala, Alex Murphy,

Raul Narvaez, Teddy Nelson, Dustin Netherton,

Jacob Odom, Tevin Owens,

Bradley Pack, Christopher Pack, Laura Pafford, Tiffany Pease, Ashley Pedigo, Hailey Perry, David Perry, Trey Petty, Sebastian Phillips, Westly Poss, Christopher Powell, Kayla Presley, Kidman Puckett,

Stephanie Rackley, Brenda Ramirez, Dylan Reagan, Deshon Reeder, Blake Reffue, Cora Beth Rhody, Louis Richards, Collene Riley, Martin Riley, Gabrielle Ritchie, Yazmin Rivera, Sydney Robinson, Johnna Roller, Makenzie Roller,

Elizabeth Sanders, Kayla Self, Justin Skinner, Brooke Snyder, William Sowell, Corey Spare, Daniel Stanley, Mark Stanley, Russell Storey, Laura Sullivan,

Billy Tate, Victoria Tatrow, Ashley Taylor, Zachary Taylor, Destiny Thomas, Zachary Thompson, Billy Tiner,

Nicholas Underhill, Jonathan Upton,

Gabriella Vanatta, Briana Vidal, Heather Vidal,

Brian Waggoner, Tia Ward, Krystal White, Ashlee Whitehead, Jacob Williams, Breanna Williams, Austin Willmore,

Alyssa Young and Riley Young.

DCHS Conducts Annual Lock Down Exercise

April 10, 2012
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County High School conducted its annual lock down exercise Tuesday morning.

Principal Kathy Hendrix said the school is required to have the drill at least once a year to practice what to do in the event of an intruder in the building. Local and area law enforcement officials are also usually called upon during the drill to bring their drug dogs to do a pass through around the lockers and in the parking lot. "We are required to do a lock down so usually when we decide to do the lock down we have the drug dogs come out. Just like fire drills and tornado drills, we have to practice a lock down for if there were an intruder in the building. During the drill, all students are to remain in classrooms. The doors to the classrooms are locked and no one is allowed out of the classrooms unless we come for them with a pass code. That's when we usually have the drug dogs to come out and go through the parking lot and around the locker area (inside the school)," said Hendrix.

"We do this every year," she said. " This is just a way of securing the campus. We do it as a deterrent to students bringing drugs to school. That is the reason we do it. We did have them go through the parking lot. One of our staff members went with each of the people (officers) going through. I went through the locker area with them. I was with them all during that time. The students were locked in the classrooms. They (students) were not around the dogs. It was secure," said Hendrix.

Members of the Smithville Police Department along with White County, Cannon County, and Putnam County law enforcement agencies were at the school with their K-9 units (drug dogs) for this unannounced visit, but according to Principal Hendrix, no illegal substances were found . "There was nothing unusual. Everything turned out great and we got it finished in one block. So I thought everything went well," said Principal Hendrix.

Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Pageants Set for Saturday

April 10, 2012
Dwayne Page
Reigning Junior Miss Kelsey Sueanna Hedge
2011 Little Mister Trevor Matthew Kirby
2011 Little Miss Addison Puckett

The annual Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Pageants will be held Saturday, April 14, beginning at 4 p.m. at DCHS gymnasium. The Little Miss & Mister will feature children between the ages of four and six and the Spring Blossom will include young ladies in grades six through eight.

Fourteen year old Kelsey Sueanna Hedge of Smithville, daughter of David and Trina Hedge, is the reigning Junior Miss.

The retiring Little Mister and Miss are six year old Trevor Matthew Kirby, son of Cindy and Clent Shehane and seven year old Addison Jean Puckett, daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett.

The pageants are sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

This year's event will feature eight contestants in the Little Mister, twenty six in the Little Miss and eighteen in the Spring Blossom.

Practice for Little Mister and Little Miss this Friday, April 13th, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the DCHS Gymnasium. Spring Blossom rehearsal is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, doors will open at 2:30 p.m.. Little Miss and Little Mister contestants must be present by 3:30 p.m.. Pageant starts at 4:00 p.m.

Spring Blossom will be immediately following. Contestants must be present by 5:30 p.m.

Admission will be $4.00 and kids under age three and contestants will be admitted free.

Concessions will be available.

Studio Six Photography will be doing photos.

For more information details please call 464-7910.

Another Arrest Made in Recent Burglary

April 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Johnna Michelle Maynard
Lucille Killian Wright
Danny Ray Ponder
Christina Marie McClain
Elsie Mae Judkins
William Albert Warren

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested another person in the recent burglary of a local business on Highway 70 east.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 26 year old Johnna Michelle Maynard of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. She is also cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Maynard was arrested on Tuesday, April 3. She will be in court on April 18. Her bond is $10,000.

Sheriff Ray reports that on or about March 17, Maynard served as a lookout while another person (Willie Ray Murphy) broke into a business on East Broad Street, taking several items. She is accused of helping in the commission of the theft.

During her arrest, Maynard told a drug detective that she had two needles in her bra and a bottle of xanax in her body cavity. A female correctional officer removed those items from Maynard. Found were eight and a half lorazopam pills (2 milligrams) and five lorazapam (1 milligram) pills along with the needles.

Maynard is the third person charged in this case. 28 year old Matthew Malachi Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville and 29 year old Willie Ray Murphy of West Bryant Street, Smithville are also charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. They were arrested on Friday, March 23.

According to Sheriff Ray, "Murphy went around to the side of the building (a business) and busted out a glass door. He then entered the business. While Murphy was in there, he took out some power tools for concrete work. Lawson, who brought Murphy to the business, sat in the vehicle and served as a lookout person. Lawson then left and later returned to pick up Murphy and the stolen equipment".

50 year old Lucille Killian Wright of Ragland Bottom, Sparta is charged with violation of an order of protection. She was arrested on April 3. Wright will be in court April 19. Her bond is $1,500.
Sheriff Ray reports that a deputy, while responding to a complaint of a female threatening another person at Ragland Bottom, found Wright causing the disturbance. By being near the person who had taken out the order of protection against her, Wright was found to be in violation of the order.

50 year old Danny Ray Ponder is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court April 19. Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, April 4 a deputy was called to a location on Old Mill Hill Road, where someone had reportedly stolen some metal. Upon arrival, the officer found Ponder to be the suspect. He also saw metal roofing in the bed of Ponder's truck. The deputy asked Ponder if he had permission to take the metal. Ponder replied "no".

33 year old Christina Marie McClain of Earl Steel Road, Brush Creek is charged with two counts of forgery. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court on April 19. She was arrested on April 5. Sheriff Ray said that two checks, which were stolen from a location in Smith County, were forged and cashed at an Alexandria business last month. He said that on Thursday, March 22, McClain passed a forged check on an account in the amount of $185.15. The victim stated that she had not signed the check nor authorized anyone else to sign it. Four days later on Monday, March 26, McClain passed another forged check in the amount of $240 at the same business.

43 year old Elsie Mae Judkins of Jefferson Road, Smithville was named in sealed indictments returned by the grand jury last week, charged with aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, burglary, and theft under $500. Her bond is $20,000. Judkins was arrested April 5 and she will be in court May 25.

77 year old William Albert Warren of Holiday Haven Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 14. Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, April 8, Warren's pickup truck was stopped by a deputy after the officer saw it traveling in the middle of the roadway on Short Mountain Highway. Warren had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. He was very unsteady on his feet and he could not perform any field sobriety tasks. He did submit to a blood alcohol test. Warren told the officer that he had consumed three beers.

TDOT Announces Traffic Switch on Hurricane Bridge

April 9, 2012
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced that on Tuesday during non-peak hours the contractor for the Hurricane Bridge project on SR-56 over the Caney Fork River will be switching traffic on the bridge to the other side. There may be delays during the traffic switch, and THP will assist with traffic control. Once the switch is over, the bridge will remain at one lane under signal control with the same weight restrictions.

Smithville Police Make Arrest In Prescription Fraud Case

April 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger

Smithville Police have arrested a local man in a prescription fraud case.

20 year old Chase Groshon of Evins Mill Road, Smithville is charged with passing a forged prescription at Rite Aid Pharmacy. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on April 12.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that Groshon allegedly passed a forged prescription for roxicodone 30 milligrams (150 pills) using the name of Nashville physician Dr. Gita Mishra. A total of $125.88 was paid for the prescription by Groshon and $61.98 by Tenn Care. The incident occurred in December.

Smithville Police became aware of the incident after Murfreesboro Police Detectives made an arrest of another man there on drug charges who implicated Groshon as the source of the narcotics. Police investigated Groshon and determined that he was not a patient of Dr. Mishra and that he had passed the forged prescription here.

23 year old Christine Moore is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger reports that early Saturday, March 24 just after midnight police went to a residence on South Mountain Street in response to a 911 hangup call. The officer arrived and found Moore, along with a man and a five year old child. It was determined that an altercation had taken place between Moore and the man. He said it started as a verbal argument earlier in the evening but later turned physical when she allegedly smacked the man in the face with her open hand and had allegedly hit both the man and the child with a belt.

27 year old Rhonda Goff and 31 year old Nicka Barrett were cited for shoplifting on Friday, March 23. They will be in court April 12. Chief Caplinger reports that a Walmart employee saw the women putting items from the store in a purse. After being stopped the women allegedly produced the stolen items from their purse.

Meanwhile, Chief Caplinger wishes to thank local businesses who donated food, cash, and prizes for the recent "Night out with the Police and Fire Department" get together with the public.

Special thanks to Florence & White Ford, El Rancho Mexican Restaurant, Tractor Supply, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, Dollar General Store, Family Dollar, Gentleman's Barber, The Tannery, Bumper's Drive-In, Potter's Home Center, Tangles Salon and Spa, Wal-mart, DeKalb Community Bank, and Liberty State Bank.

Easter Egg Hunt Held Saturday at Greenbrook Park

April 7, 2012
Dwayne Page

The AmVets Post 101 Ladies Auxiliary hosted the 5th annual Easter Egg Hunt at Greenbrook Park on Saturday for children up to twelve years old.

The event also included an egg coloring contest, a coloring book contest, and refreshments.

Prizes were awarded in three age groups, one to four years old, five to eight years old, and nine to twelve years old.

The Easter Bunny also made an appearance during the Easter Egg Hunt

Two DeKalb County Men Charged in Sparta Armed Robbery

April 7, 2012
Dwayne Page

Two DeKalb County men were taken into custody in Warren County Wednesday morning after allegedly committing an armed robbery at the Sparta Discount Drug Store in White County.

34 year old Christopher Morris Stanley and 33 year old Ricky Allen Ashford, II were reportedly arrested separately after a foot chase off Shady Rest Road near the VFW in Warren County. They are being held in the White County Jail facing charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. They will also face charges in Warren County for trying to flee from authorities.

Stanley and Ashford allegedly robbed the pharmacy at gunpoint, demanding cash and drugs. The incident occurred after 9:00 a.m.

The Sparta Expositor reports that according to police, the store clerks described the suspects as dressed in dark colors with long sleeves, gloves and ski masks. They also said one suspect had a handgun, and the other had a device that appeared to be a taser. Before officers arrived, the suspects reportedly fled the scene in a black Chevrolet Impala heading north on Spring Street in Sparta. A description of the vehicle was reported to White County authorities and a BE ON THE LOOKOUT or BOLO was issued. The car was later spotted by a Warren County constable near Rock Island.

The Southern Standard reports that "officers converged on the area and a chase ensued onto Shady Rest Road, which runs nearly parallel with Sparta Highway just outside the McMinnville city limits."

The men abandoned the vehicle on foot into the woods between Shady Rest and Sparta Highway. One of the men was soon apprehended and the other man was captured after a tracking dog led officers to him. The men were found with cash, drugs, and a handgun.


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