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Sheriff's Department Makes Arrests in Child Abuse and Theft Cases

January 18, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jo Carol Summers
Jacob L Tramel
Thomas Jacob Sims
Travis Dewayne Rich
Steve A Stanley
Jeffery S Ponder

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made one arrest for child abuse last week while five others have been charged in various theft investigations.

In his weekly report on crime, Sheriff Patrick Ray says 23 year old Jo Carol Summers of Students Home Road Smithville was arrested Tuesday, January 12th for child abuse of a 4 year old. Through an investigation, deputies learned that Summers struck a 4 year old child with a paint stir stick, hitting the youngster several times on the back and buttocks areas with the stick, causing bruising to those areas. Bond for Summers was set at $5,000 and she will appear in court on January 28th.

27 year old Jacob L. Tramel of Whaley Street Smithville was arrested on Tuesday, January 12th for theft of property over $1,000.. Detectives received a report of a theft on Short Mountain Road, Smithville where the victim stated that on December 15th a diamond ring, valued at over $1,000, was taken from the victim's residence without consent. Tramel sold the stolen ring to a jewelry dealer in Smithville. Bond for Tramel was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on February 4th.

26 year old Thomas Jacob Sims of Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown was arrested on Wednesday, January 13th for aggravated burglary and theft of property over $1,000. Detectives received a report of a theft on January 10th in which someone had stolen a freezer, food, television, and a microwave. These items were taken from a home on Robinson Road without the owner's consent. Entry was made through a back door to the residence. Though an investigation, detectives identified Sims as a suspect in the crimes. The stolen items have since been recovered. Bond for Sims was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on February 4th.

On Thursday, January 14th, detectives received a report of a burglary, theft, and vandalism which occurred on January 11th on Cherokee Drive in Smithville. As a result of the investigation, detectives learned that 22 year old Travis Dewayne Rich of Bear Hollow Road, Liberty had broken into the home and stolen a 32 inch television, cable box, sink faucets, and parts to two central heating and air units. During the crime, Rich cut the faucets off from the water lines causing over $10,000 worth of water damage to the homes' structure and furnishings. Rich was charged with aggravated burglary, theft of property over $10,000 and vandalism over $10,000. Bond for Rich was set at $45,000 and he will appear in court on February 18th. Rich is also a suspect in other break-ins in the county where items such as copper, and televisions, among other items were taken. If you have bought anything from Rich, you are urged to contact DeKalb County Sheriff's Department detectives or Sheriff Ray at 597-4935.

32 year old Steve A. Stanley and 45 year old Jeffery S. Ponder both of Old Mill Hill Road Dowelltown were arrested on Saturday for burglary and theft of property over $500. After receiving a complaint call of a break-in, deputies caught both men taking items out of a storage building on Dale Ridge Road. Both men had entered a storage building by forcing open a front door and loaded a propane tank, 2 stoves, an electric pump, catalytic converter, and other scrap metal into a truck that they were in. Bond for both men was set at $35,000 and they both will appear in court on February 4th.

Cub Scouts Visit WJLE

January 18, 2010
Dwayne Page
Cub Scouts and Parents visit WJLE

Members of Cub Scout Pack 347, Den 9 visited WJLE on a field trip Saturday.

WJLE Manager Dwayne Page gave the scouts a tour of the station and interviewed them LIVE on the radio.

(Pictured- left to right: Seated below and wearing cap- David Robinson, Kneeling at right- Jamie Waggoner; Kneeling left- Eric Birmingham; Seated in chairs- Cody Robinson, Nicholas Birmingham, and Darren Waggoner)

Five Incumbents Announce Plans to Seek Re-election during Republican Party Mass Meeting

January 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray
Trustee Sean Driver
Road Supervisor Kenny Edge
First District County Commissioner Mason Carter
Second District County Commissioner Bobby Joines
Congressional Candidate Kerry Roberts-

Members of the DeKalb County Republican Party held a Mass Meeting Saturday morning at the Courthouse.

The purpose of the meeting was to select delegates to the January 30th DeKalb County Republican Convention and to give potential candidates an opportunity to formally announce their candidacies.

Republican incumbents Sheriff Patrick Ray, Trustee Sean Driver, Road Supervisor Kenny Edge, First District County Commissioner Mason Carter, and Second District County Commissioner Bobby Joines all announced their intentions to seek re-election.
Click here to listen to candidate announcements

In his remarks to the party faithful, Sheriff Patrick Ray, who is running for his second term, said he is thankful for their support and believes he has fulfilled his pledge to the people of DeKalb County. "Four years ago I stood before you asking for the nomination for the office of Sheriff. With your nomination and vote and the votes of the DeKalb County voters in August, 2006 I was elected to that office. Since taking the office of Sheriff, I've worked hard to improve the quality of life to the citizens by providing them with accountable and professional law enforcement. During my time as your Sheriff, I have fulfilled my campaign promises, which was to run a professional and accountable Sheriff's Department, to spend our tax dollars wisely, to work hard on the trafficking of illegal drugs, and to provide responsive and respectful law enforcement services to the citizens and visitors of DeKalb County. Under my leadership, the Sheriff's Department has provided cooperative relationships with local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies. I've worked closely with civic organizations throughout the county and I have tried to make myself available to you at all times. I would like the opportunity to continue to lead our Sheriff's Department in a forward direction. I have enjoyed serving as your Sheriff. While a lot of things have changed over the last four years in our communities, my commitment for professionalism and accountability has not changed. It is my desire to continue to work for the citizens of DeKalb County. With that said, at this time I humbly ask for the nomination for the office of Sheriff in the August 2010 General Election."

Trustee Sean Driver, seeking his second term, says the Trustee's office is now more computer friendly and he has made sound investments of the county's money. "Thank you for your nomination in 2006 to run for this wonderful office, the Trustee's Office. It has been such a privilege and an honor just to do that job and to give everyone my best ability to do that job to the best of my knowledge. I do want to ask you once again for your nomination for the 2010 nomination. I want to tell you a little about what I have accomplished in these last three and a half years. I have brought the office up to a modernization level. We are on full computer now. I do have a lot of ideas that I want to get accomplished in the next four years if I were to be elected and nominated. We are of the understanding that our offices may be moved out to the Food Center shopping center and I have a lot of ideas as to where I could take the office if I were to get this nomination. I have invested the money wisely and I give reports on a monthly and tri-monthly basis as to where that money is being spent and being invested. As of this date and finishing out the four years, I will have brought the money back into the county at around the two million dollar mark. So investments have worked well for this county and we're very pleased with that. I thank you so much."

Road Supervisor Kenny Edge, who was first elected in 1990, said he would continue to serve the county as best he could with the money he is allocated by the state. "I ask for your vote and nomination in being re- elected for four more years. I'll continue to do like I have in the past, I'll do the best job that I can do on what tax monies I get without asking for more or raising the taxes. In the past I borrowed a million dollars. That's never been done. I paid every bit of it back with my own gas tax money and I'm out of debt. I've got a little bit ahead but the next four years is going to be a challenge because people are not burning as much fuel on account of the cost of it. My money is staying basically the same but everything I'm buying, inflation is killing us. I mean when we're paying over two dollars a gallon for diesel and then paying $10,000 a load for oil to tar a road with, where we used to get it for three thousand dollars a load. It's a challenge. But I'll continue to do the best that I can do on what I can get and I appreciate any help that you all can help me with."

First District County Commissioner Mason Carter, seeking his second term, asked for the support of the first district delegates. "If it would be your pleasure I'd like to run again."

Second District County Commissioner Bobby Joines, running for his third term, said he would continue to help spend the taxpayers money wisely. "I came here going on eight years ago asking for this same position. We made it and I would like to ask for your help again. I'm only one of fourteen commissioners but I've tried to take care of tax dollars and handle it as if it was my own because I'm a taxpayer too. So I would appreciate your help for another four years in nominating me."

In addition to the local candidates, Kerry Roberts of Springfield announced his candidacy for 6th District Congressman in the August State Republican Primary. Click here to listen to his comments
or click the following link to read more about him. http://www.kerryroberts.com/landing/#a_bio

Jennifer Winfree, Chairperson of the DeKalb County Republican Party, announced that the convention will meet on Saturday, January 30th at 10:00 a.m. at the courthouse to formally nominate candidates to run in the August General Election. She added that other potential candidates have until January 30th to make their intentions known. "We will meet back in this room two weeks from today at the same time to let the delegates from each district vote for the candidates for each of these offices. On January 30th, we will hold our convention and vote on each Republican candidate. Any Republican who wants to seek an office can announce as late as January 30th."

Winfree also urged her fellow Republicans to join the effort to keep DeKalb County "red"."I appreciate what you do and thank you for being an important part of our party. "Next year will be an exciting year for our party. It will take all of us in this room and others who could not attend today to hold true to our conservative principles as Republicans and keep this county red. We have some great candidates seeking office. They are talented individuals who seek to serve and better DeKalb County. I thank them for their public service."

Delegates selected during the Mass Meeting are as follows:

1st district: Tom Chandler, Laura Chandler, Mason Carter, Jerry Childress

2nd district: Sandy Brown, Don Adamson, Charles Robinson, Donny Green, (alternate Darry Driver)

3rd district: Taft Hendrixson, Karen Caplinger, Vester Parsley, George LeFevre (alternate J.C. Carter)

4th district: Joe Collins, Bertha McBride, and Joan Draper

5th district: Larry Green, Jerry Adcock, Kiki Brown, Wink Brown (alternate Becky Oliver)

6th district: Grady Ray, Tracy Ray, Roy Ray, Patsy Ray (alternate Melvin Ray)

7th district: Todd Lassiter, Misty Lassiter, James Cantrell, Johnny Lattimore (alternate Amy Gay)

Smithville Police Charge Two Men with Theft of Property from Local Industry

January 15, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged two men with theft of property belonging to a local industry.

34 year old Melvin Leon Crips, Jr. of 148 Winter Drive and 39 year old Tracy Lynn Haynes of 529 Frazier Street were arrested Wednesday, January 13th by Detective Jerry Hutchins and charged with theft of property over $500 and $10,000. Police say around January 9th, several pieces of welding equipment and power supplies were stolen from Tenneco's (Walker's) warehouse at 415 Miller Road. On January 11th, maintenance manager, Johnny Pridmore reported to Officer Matt Farmer that he was informed that some of Tenneco's equipment may be at Ivy Bluff Salvage. Pridmore went to Ivy Bluff Salvage and found equipment belonging to Tenneco. Pridmore returned to the warehouse on January 11th to find a truck with a bumper trailer attached. On the trailer were two items belonging to Tenneco. He approached the men in the truck and requested their names and asked what they were doing. The driver stated his name was Melvin Crips. While Mr. Pridmore called the police, the two men unloaded the two items off the trailer and left. After further investigation, Detective Hutchins arrested Crips and Haynes. Bond for each is set at $27,500. Their court date is March 8th.

57 year old Elizabeth Anne Puckett and 31 year old Stephen Shea Puckett both of 362 Smith Road, Smithville and 36 year old Jena Vantrease of 502 Madison Drive, LaVergne were charged Friday, January 8th for disorderly conduct. Officer Matt Holmes made the arrests. Bond for each is $1,000. They will be in court on February 4th.

20 year old Farron Lee Hendrix, II of 823 Riley Avenue and 20 year old Carrie Leanna Cooper, of 366 Imperial Drive, Sparta were arrested Friday, January 8th for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. 20 year old Gary Heath Robinson of 3460 Coconut Ridge Road was also arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon. Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 630 Miller Road, Apartment C-19 in answer to a complaint of loud music and possible drug use. During a search of the residence, police found Hendrix and Cooper hiding in the bathroom. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found behind the shower curtain. Others were present in the apartment and while Officer Davis and Sergeant Joey Jones were checking them for illegal drugs, Robinson asked if they wanted his pistol. He handed Officer Davis a 9mm Hi-point semi automatic pistol. Robinson told WJLE that the police account of the pistol incident is incorrect. He says officers asked everyone present if they had anything they were not supposed to have. Robinson told them he had a pistol and the officers asked him to turn it over to them. Bond for each was set at $2,500 and their court date is February 4th.

On Tuesday, January 12th, K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow cited 29 year old Crystal Margaret Berninger of 104 Highland Drive for simple possession.

On Thursday, January 14th, Corporal Travis K Bryant cited 41 year old William A Cantrell of 299 Redman Road for shoplifting. While in Wal-Mart, Cantrell took off his old shoes and put on new shoes belonging to the store and put his old shoes back in the box. His court date is February 4th.

42 year old Billy Joe Cripps and 40 year old Staci Lynne Cripps of 398 South College Street were arrested Friday, January 15th by Sergeant Randy King for child neglect. According to the report, Officer King responded to the corner of East Main Street and Highway 56 North in response to a small child walking alone next to the road. The caller reported that the child had been picked up by someone in a white mini-van. Upon arrival, police spoke with witnesses Jeanie Poss and Todd VanDyne who reported that the child was first seen walking east on Don Cantrell Way and then toward Highway 56 and East Main Street. Poss picked up the child until police arrived. Both witnesses said that the child told them that he was told to get out and find his own way to school. The outside temperature was approximately 30 degrees. The child was not wearing any socks when he was picked up. The youngster was taken to Smithville Elementary School by Lieutenant Steven Leffew.

42 year old Doyle Edwin Mooneyham and 51 year old Melba Olline Finley both of 957 Manus Town Road, Woodbury were arrested Friday, January 15th by Sergeant Randy King and Officer Matt Farmer. A call was dispatched to NHC concerning a possible public intoxication and drug traffic. Upon arrival, police saw four persons. Sergeant King spoke with Mooneyham who was unsteady on his feet and had an odor of a fermented beverage about his person. Sergeant King asked Mooneyham if he had been drinking. Mooneyham replied that he had drunk one beer. Sergeant King then asked him if he had taken any medication. Mooneyham said he had taken his medication earlier and produced three prescription bottles. Mooneyham was arrested at that time for public intoxication. During this time, Officer Farmer was questioning and searching three other people at this location. A small blue football shaped pill with GG over 258 on one side of it was found on Melba Finley. Ms. Finley stated that it was a Xanax and that she had a prescription for it but she could not produce a prescription for the pills. Finley was arrested for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. Bond for each was set at $1,000 and they will be in court on February 11th.

Meanwhile, anyone having any information on the following offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Friday, January 8th, Ronnie Walker, an employee of the City of Smithville reported to Corporal Travis Bryant that someone had busted out the back window and kicked in the door to the guard shack at Green Brook Park. Walker stated that the last time he knew the guard shack to be intact was on Wednesday, January 6th. Walker said damage had to have occurred sometime on or after that date.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

School Board Approves H1N1 Vaccination Clinics

January 14, 2010
Dwayne Page
Deanna Pursinger answering question about H1N1 clinics at School Board meeting

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night approved a proposal by the Upper Cumberland Regional Health Office to set up school clinics to administer H1N1 vaccinations. A team of nurses and health department staff will be manning the clinics

In order for children in the school system to receive the immunizations, their parents or guardians would first have to complete and sign a form, giving permission. The immunizations will be free of charge.

Deanna Pursinger, School Health Coordinator, says she is still waiting on confirmation from the health department but tentative dates for the clinics are Tuesday through Friday, February 16th- 19th and the following Monday through Thursday, February 22nd-25th. She says the hope is to complete visits to all the schools in the county in a week or less.

Pursinger says the school system, nor the board of education would be held liable since "children are covered through malpractice insurance through the health department, just the same as if they went to the health department themselves."

The vaccinations would not just be available to children. Pursinger says others could receive the immunizations as well. " Not only is this H1N1 flu vaccination and or mist available to our students, its also available to any adult, faculty or staff member, a younger sibling, or parents as long as they fill out the form. They (health department) are going to have plenty of vaccinations while they are at the school so anybody can get this for free. There's no cost, they just have to fill out the form and sign it."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says he hopes this is the beginning of a stronger partnership with the health department. "We would hope that this is a bridge in order to work with the health department even more in administering immunization shots and things like that, especially for our pre-school kids and kindergarten kids, so hopefully by doing this we can be building a bridge to work more and more with our health department in the future."

A consent form and the following letter will be sent to parents and guardians from the Upper Cumberland Regional Health Office:

"As you may have heard, a new influenza virus, called the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, was first identified in the United States in late April 2009. The virus has caused illness ranging from mild to severe, including hospitalizations and deaths in adults and children. Many children have gotten H1N1 infection and there have been large outbreaks in some schools across the country. Flu is unpredictable and activity can rise and fall throughout the season, but flu is likely to continue for months, caused by either 2009 H1N1 viruses or regular seasonal flu viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that children and young adults be vaccinated against H1N1."

"Vaccination is the best way to protect your child from this potentially serious disease. The health department is working with your child's school to give the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine to children at school. A vaccination clinic will be held at your child's school in the month of January or February 2010. Please complete the consent form along with your signature giving permission to vaccinate your child."

"Children under age 10 need two doses of vaccine spaced one month apart to provide adequate immunity. Only one dose is required for children age 10 and older or for children that obtain the first dose at age 9 and will turn 10 before the second dose is due. If your child meets the criteria for a second dose, it will also be administered at school to fulfill the requirement. There will be no cost to you for this vaccine."

"If you have any questions about the vaccine or the vaccination clinic, please call your local health department from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please visit the CDC's H1N1 web site at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/and http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/parents for information especially for parents.

Board of Education Adopts 2010-11 School Calendar

January 14, 2010
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix urges parents to check report cards

The DeKalb County Board of Education formally adopted the school calendar for the 2010-2011 year Thursday night. The monthly meeting of the board was held at Smithville Elementary School.

Registration for all students will be Monday, August 2nd. That will be an abbreviated school day from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Thursday, August 5th will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The first full day of school for all students will be Tuesday, August 3rd. Wednesday, August 4th will also be a full day of school.

A system wide professional development day will be Monday, July 26th at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to DCHS from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27th . All teachers will then report to their individual schools Tuesday, July 27th from noon until 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday, July 28th & 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 6th.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 11-22 (The first week will be intersession)

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 24th, 25th, & 26th and for the winter break December 20th through December 31st. Friday, December 17th will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Tuesday, January 4th to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 17th and for President's Day, Monday, February 21st.

Schools will be closed for spring break March 21st-25th and for Good Friday, April 22nd.

Students will not attend on Wednesday, May 25th. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Thursday, May 26. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 5th and Tuesday, March 15th at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 7th and Thursday, March 17th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 4th, Thursday, January 6th, and Monday, March 14th.

AYP-EOC/Gateway Testing at DCHS will be Tuesday through Thursday, December 7th-9th and May 3rd-5th at DCHS and a make-up AYP-EOC/Gateway Test will be Friday, December 10th and May 6th.

ACT Test for the 11th grade will be Tuesday, March 8th

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 1st. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 2nd..

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 13th-20th

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2nd, Monday, January 3rd, and Friday, March 18th. Students will not attend on those days.

In other business, DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix issued an appeal to parents to take a look at your sons and daughters report cards, which were released Thursday. "We passed our report cards out today. Parents, please look at those report cards. If there are any incompletes or grades that aren't up to passing, please encourage your sons and daughters to get to the guidance office and get signed up for credit recovery or the Tiger Academy, whatever it is they need to do. Senior parents, make sure you look at those report cards. If they (students) need these classes to graduate, you need to be checking to make sure they get all this work completed and get their credits because we want everybody to graduate on time."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since last month.

The following were employed:
Tamara Murphy, RN, substitute school nurse
Janice Tanner, LPN, substitute school nurse
Deborah Knowles, Educational Assistant (Job Coach) DCHS
Dustin Estes and Martha Conger Hale as substitute teachers
Brittany Willoughby, Spanish teacher at DCHS
Seth Roberts, Spanish teacher at DCHS
Rebecca Hawkins, substitute bus assistant
Jeanette Allen, Health Occupations teacher DCHS

Mary Foutch, transferred to full time cafeteria position at SES
Wanda Bradford, transferred to part-time cafeteria position at DCHS

Linda Dean, Spanish teacher DCHS retired

In other business, the board of education adopted a resolution expressing appreciation to Food Service employees.

The resolution states as follows:

WHEREAS, food service workers rise early every school day to provide a nutritious breakfast and lunch for students and staff in our schools; and

WHEREAS, many of them dish out advice, encouragement and good humor along with the nutritious meals they serve daily; and

WHEREAS, food service personnel create a friendly atmosphere in our schools by demonstrating a positive, upbeat attitude with warm greetings and smiles to students and staff; and

WHEREAS, they do their best to prepare healthy and tasty meals with limited budgets and food products supplied in bulk by the USDA; and

WHEREAS, they display patience and understanding as students anxiously crowd the service line; and

WHEREAS, they consistently give priority to student health, welfare and safety; and

WHEREAS, our cafeteria staff members work hard without complaining and faithfully show up to work every morning through whatever weather may present itself; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby declares January 14, 2010 as Food Service Personnel Appreciation Day in DeKalb County Schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Board expresses deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all food service workers in our school system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Board encourages all staff, students and parents to join with us in expressing appreciation for the outstanding contribution our food service staff has made and continues to make to the success of our school system and to the lives of our students.

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby read a proclamation by Governor Phil Bredesen designating January 24th-30th as School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee.

The proclamation reads " Whereas, an excellent public education system is vital to the quality of life of our communities; and

Whereas, school board members represent a tremendous resource as local decision makers, responding to the challenges of creating 21st Century schools that meet Tennessee's higher education standards; and

Whereas, school board members serve their communities by representing the interests of school children and preparing them for the future; and

Whereas, the men and women elected by the people as members of our local school boards deserve recognition and thanks for their countless hours of service to public education in Tennessee;

Now, Therefore, I, Phil Bredesen, Governor of the State of Tennessee, do hereby proclaim the week of January 24th-30th as School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee and encourage all citizens to join me in this worthy observance."

Local Election Commission Pleased with State Senate Vote to Delay Voting Machines Law

January 14, 2010
Dwayne Page
 Dennis Stanley and Walteen Parker

The DeKalb County Election Commission has expressed its pleasure with a vote in the State Senate this week to delay implementation of a bill that would have required the purchase and use of optical can voting machines.

The State House had voted last spring to delay the bill.

"To change voting machines will be extremely costly and is really unnecessary," said DeKalb County Election Commission Chairperson Walteen Parker. "We applaud the move to delay this bill until the 2012 November election."

Optical can machines scan or "Read" a voter's paper ballot and millions of dollars in taxpayer money will be required to equip the state's 95 counties with the new devices. In addition, there will be increased costs due to the printing of paper ballots and the storage of both the machines and ballots.

"Just four years ago the state required the purchase of new voting machines that record votes electronically, and they are working as advertised. There is no need to go to a new machine that, in essence, takes ys back in time with the use of paper ballots," she continued.

"We have numerous security steps in place to assure ballot integrity with the current machines and the use of paper ballots will simply increase the opportunity for fraud in the voting process."

Parker also explained this is not a partisan issue, at least on the local level. She said the county election commission, which consists of two democrats and three republicans voted unanimously to oppose the immediate implementation of the bill. The DeKalb County Commission also voted late last year to ask the state legislature and Governor Bredesen to delay implementation of the bill.

"We want to thank the County Commission, State Senator Mae Beavers, and others who supported delaying this bill," she added. "Without them, we would be spending an unnecessarily large amount of money in tough economic times. We hope the Governor will sign the delay until 2012 into law."

Meanwhile, Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said this week petitions are now available for local school board candidates and those who wish to run for State Representative or State Senator.

School board seats are considered "non-partisan" and candidates run in the August County General Election. This year, school board seats in five districts are up for election. School board candidates must file proof of graduation from high school or receipt of a G.E.D., evidenced by a

Diploma or other documentation satisfactory to the election commission prior to the qualifying deadline, which is noon, April 1st.

State candidates can run in either the Republican or Democratic Primaries also held in August, and the qualifying deadline is also at noon on April 1st. The same qualifying deadline applies to Independent candidates for a state legislative seat.

Sparta Woman Involved in Wreck Sues Smithville and Two City Employees

January 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Allison Long Dodge Durango
Smithville Garbage Truck in February 2009 Wreck

A 34 year old Sparta woman, who was involved in a traffic accident with a city garbage truck on Highway 70 east near Sligo bridge almost a year ago, has filed a circuit court lawsuit against the City of Smithville and the two men in the truck, Ronnie Walker and Jerry Rackley.

Allison Long is asking for a jury trial and seeks a judgment against the defendants including compensatory damages in the amount of $500,000, cost and disbursements incurred, pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest in amounts allowed by law, and such other general relief to which the court deems just and equitable.

The accident occurred on February 27th, 2009. After investigating the mishap on that day, Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 57 year old Ronnie Walker of Smithville, a city employee, was operating a 1999 freightliner garbage truck going west on Highway 70. Another city employee, 39 year old Jerry Rackley of Smithville, was a passenger in the truck. The two were apparently returning from the landfill where they had dumped a load of garbage. Long was going east on Highway 70 in a 2007 Dodge Durango.

According to Trooper Jennings, Long claims as she was negotiating a curve coming down the hill, she saw the garbage truck in her lane. As she applied her brakes, the Durango slid on the rain slick highway and struck the side of the truck at an angle in the westbound lane. Long's vehicle came to a final rest in the ditchline facing a rock wall. The truck continued west for a few feet and also went off the road in the ditchline and struck the rock wall.

Walker and Rackley were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Long was to have gone to the Cookeville hospital by a private vehicle.

Neither of them were believed to have been seriously injured.

Trooper Jennings says Walker was cited for failure to exercise care.

In the lawsuit, Long claims she was in her proper lane of travel, observing the posted speed limit, and was operating her vehicle in a safe and prudent manner and that Walker or Rackley were operating the truck, belonging to the city, within their scope of employment.

Long says as a result of the negligent and lack of due care of the defendants and their failure to properly supervise and control the truck, it crossed into her lane of traffic and collided head on with her vehicle resulting in damages to her Durango and serious bodily injuries to her.

Long alleges that she was required to seek and obtain medical care and treatment for her injuries, sustained a loss in her earning capacity, incurred expenses, suffered mental and physical pain and a reduction in the enjoyment and quality of life. In addition, Long is suing the defendants for all damages permitted by law for her personal injury and property damage, including but not limited to past and future medical bills, past and future mental and physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and emotional distress, past and future loss of earning capacity, lost wages, permanent injury, and all other damages permitted by law.

Liberty Man Charged with Two Burglaries

January 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
Joseph Daniel Richardson
William Timothy Brown
Crystal Fults
 Clent Lee Shehane

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a Liberty man with breaking into two homes on Clear Creek Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Joseph Daniel Richardson of Church Street, Liberty was arrested Thursday, January 7th on two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft of property under $500. Detectives charged Richardson after an investigation into two break-ins that occurred on Clear Creek Road in Liberty. On New Year's Day Richardson entered the home without the owners consent. Once inside, he took a container of money and jewelry from the home. Then on Wednesday, January 6th Richardson entered another home without the owners consent. Once inside, he took a Play Station 2, a controller, one Play Station 2 game, and two cell phones. Bond for Richardson was set at $20,000 and his court date is set for February 4th.

29 year old William Timothy Brown of Dry Creek Road, Smithville was arrested Friday, January 8th for filing a false report. Detectives allege that on Wednesday, January 6th Brown staged an armed robbery at his home. Brown placed a call to 911 stating that two men came into his home and that one man had a knife and the other a crowbar. Brown said the men asked if he had a gun. According to Brown the two men rummaged through his home. Brown, who had injuries on his head and on one of his arms, went to the hospital to seek treatment. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, January 6th when detectives sat down with him to do an interview, Brown admitted that he had made up the incident. Brown said he did it because he wanted attention from his family members. Brown added that he staged the scene in his home and ran his head first into the door facing and then again with his arm causing injuries to himself. Bond for Brown was set at $2,500 and will be in court on February 4th. Filing a false report with law enforcement is a felony in Tennessee.

On Sunday, January 10th, deputies were called to break up a fight on Old Bildad Road, Smithville. Upon arrival, they found 23 year old Salomon Diaz in an intoxicated state in the complainant's yard. Diaz was unsteady on his feet, had an odor of alcohol on his person, and had slurred speech. Diaz was charged with public intoxication and his bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on February 17th.

Also on Sunday deputies stopped a vehicle on Village Place Street in Smithville for a traffic violation. Upon entering the vehicle, the officer noticed that a passenger and the driver were trying to hide something. The driver, 30 year old Crystal Fults of Blue Springs Road, Smithville was asked for consent to search. During the search, the officer saw Fults take a non prescription bottle from her purse and place it into the seat of the vehicle. The deputy confiscated the bottle which contained sixty seven Hydrocodone pills. Fults admitted that she did not have a prescription for the drug. Fults was charged with possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone) for resale. Her bond was set at $5,000 and she will appear in court on January 28th.

24 year old Clent Lee Shehane was arrested Saturday, January 9th for failure to appear to serve weekends. He was also charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license, and possession of drug paraphernalia after he was stopped on Restview Avenue in Smithville. A deputy spotted Shehane and was aware of a state warrant against him for failure to appear. Shehane was under a court sentence to serve weekends in the DeKalb County Jail but he did not show up to serve all of his time as directed by the court. The deputy ran a check of Shehane's driver's license and discovered they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on December 6th, 2004. During a frisk down search before being placed into the patrol car, officers found a used hypodermic needle and a cut straw containing residue which were in Shehane's jacket pocket. After Shehane was taken to the jail and placed in a holding cell waiting to be booked, he vandalized the jail's fire sprinkler system. Shehane was further charged with vandalism. Bond for Shehane was set at $10,500 and he will appear in court on January 28th.

Meanwhile the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is reporting a total of 7,326 incident calls from January 1st to December 31st, 2009, which is up by 790 calls from 6,536 during the previous year. That is over 20 calls per day and 666 calls per deputy for the year, according to Sheriff Ray.

He adds that these incident responses 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 following is a break-down of incident call responses in 2009:
Wrecks- 752
4 wheeler calls- 46
911 calls- 204
Abandoned Vehicles- 45
Animal calls- 268
Assaults- 53
Fires- 178
Break-ins- 244
Burglar Alarms- 556
Child Custody Exchanges- 29
Children in roadway- 7
Civil Matters- 33
Debris in roadway- 54
Disturbing the peace- 126
Domestic violence- 390
Drug trafficking- 36
Escorts- 128
Extra Patrols- 27
Fights- 112
Funeral Escorts- 173
Gas drive-offs- 15
Harassments- 45
Indecent exposure- 8
Investigations- 209
Vehicle lockouts- 800
Medical Assists- 295
Missing Persons- 41
Phone harassment- 17
Possible D.U.I.- 153
Problems with neighbors- 36
Prowlers- 69
Public Intoxication- 17
Rape- 1
Reckless Drivers- 314
Recover Property- 33
Robbery- 1
Seizures- 17
Shots fired- 86
Shop lifter- 5
Stolen property- 208
Stolen vehicle- 54
Stranded motorists- 80
Someone threatened- 132
Suspicious persons/vehicles- 485
Traffic Hazards- 100
Trespassing- 21
Unruly juveniles- 30
Unwanted guests- 129
Vandalism- 147
Vehicle fires- 22
Wanted Persons- 46
Welfare checks- 192
Miscellaneous- 57

Two Smithville Police Officers Receive Commendations from City Officials

January 11, 2010
Dwayne Page

Two Smithville Police Officers, Matthew W. Holmes and Corporal Travis K. Bryant, have received commendations from city officials.

Holmes' commendation states that "On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as a police officer."

"Recently you have conducted several criminal investigations including: aggravated robbery, rape and felony theft resulting in numerous arrests and the recovery of stolen property."

"Your determination and efforts in the continued performance of your duties exemplify your outstanding work ethic. Your actions enables the citizens of Smithville and your fellow co-workers to know that the Smithville Police Department is continuously striving for quality service. You have served with distinction. You are a credit to the Smithville Police Department. I appreciate your current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your personnel record."

Bryant's commendation states that "On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as Corporal."

"On December 13th, 2009 you responded to an automobile accident on Bright Hill Road, involving a vehicle that had overturned and landed upside down in a large body of water. With temperatures, nearing freezing and without hesitation, you entered the swift traveling water to render aid to the driver which was trapped inside the overturned vehicle."

"Your noble action enables the citizens of Smithville and your fellow co-workers to know that the Smithville Police Department is continuously striving for quality service. You have served with distinction and valor. You are a credit to the Smithville Police Department. I appreciate your current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your personnel record."

The commendations were signed by Lieutenant Steven Leffew, Mayor Taft Hendrixson, and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks.


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