Local News Articles

Brad Mullinax Named New Chief Administrative Officer at Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital

May 31, 2018
Brad Mullinax

Saint Thomas Health today (Thursday) announced executive leadership changes at Saint Thomas DeKalb, Highlands and Stones River Hospitals. The newly structured hospital leadership teams will be comprised of a chief administrative officer and director of nursing. Saint Thomas Health is part of Ascension, the nation’s largest Catholic and nonprofit health system.

At Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital, Brad Mullinax will serve as the new chief administrative officer. Previously, Mullinax served as the director of clinical operations at Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital. Mullinax will be supported by Emily Elrod, who has been appointed as the director of nursing at both Saint Thomas Stones River and DeKalb Hospitals. Previously, Elrod served as director of clinical operations at Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital.

In support of Saint Thomas Health’s mission and strategic direction, the leadership team continues to look for the best ways to provide affordable, safe, and quality and accessible care to all, with special attention to those most vulnerable.

“Our leadership structures will continue to develop to support the goals of our strategic direction, and these changes include elevating and promoting Saint Thomas Health associates to help sustain our hospitals in the future,” said Gordon Ferguson, president and CEO of Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and president of Saint Thomas regional hospitals. “As we continue to make our care delivery operations more efficient, we have made the decision to form separate leadership teams for Saint Thomas DeKalb, Highlands and Stones River Hospitals, allowing for a focus on growth, quality and operational excellence at each hospital.”

At Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital, Richard Tumlin will serve as the interim chief administrative officer. Tumlin was most recently the chief operating officer at Southern Hills Hospital in Nashville where he worked since 2011. Tumlin graduated from both the University of Georgia and Georgia State University and currently lives in Brentwood, Tenn. In addition, Jennifer Halfacre will serve as interim director of nursing at Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital, and she will be supported by Bob Peglow, chief nursing officer for the Saint Thomas Health regional hospitals. Halfacre will continue her current responsibilities for surgical services at the hospital.

At Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital, Brian Gill has been named chief administrative officer. Gill has been extremely involved with the behavioral health services provided at several Saint Thomas hospitals, and he will continue to support the behavioral health services provided at Saint Thomas regional hospitals.

As a result of these changes in the executive leadership structure, Andy Wachtel will be transitioning from his role as president and CEO for these three regional hospitals. Additionally, the clinical operations position has been eliminated at each of these hospitals.

“With the ever-changing landscape in healthcare, we must continue to evolve to meet the needs of our communities, and the new executive leadership structure will allow us to have a strong leadership presence at each hospital every day,” said Ferguson. “Times of change can be difficult, but we remain committed to the continued service of each of these regional hospitals.”

ABOUT SAINT THOMAS HEALTH

In Tennessee, Ascension’s Saint Thomas Health operates nine hospitals in addition to a comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities that cover a 68-county area and employ more than 8,000 associates. Across the state, Saint Thomas Health provided more than $92 million in community benefit and care of persons living in poverty in fiscal year 2017. Serving Tennessee for 15 years, Ascension is a faith-based healthcare organization committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all, with special attention to persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable. Ascension is the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, operating more than 2,600 sites of care – including 151 hospitals and more than 50 senior living facilities – in 22 states and the District of Columbia. Visit www.sthealth.com.

Boating Safety Class from Coast Guard Auxiliary Sat, June 2nd

May 31, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Flotilla 11-6 is offering a one-day boating safety class on Saturday, June 2 at the Dekalb County Community Center located at 712 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville, Tennessee from 8:00 AM – 4:00PM. The class is taught free but $7.00 fee per student covers lunch and room rental fees. Preregistration is required as the class size is limited. For more information and/or to register, please call John Whelan at 615-948-8051 and leave a message.

BOAT TENNESSEE is a comprehensive boating course designed for both beginners and novice boaters. This course will be taught in a one-day
session with a short lunch break. Topics include: Types and Uses of Boats/Engines; Boat Handling; Equipment for Boats, Trailering, Aids to
Navigation, Rules of the Road, Inland Boating, Boating Laws/State Laws, Boating Problems/Emergencies, and more. The exam to be given
will be the State of Tennessee boating exam.

This course is approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. Those who successfully complete the course and
exam are awarded certificates of completion. Many marine insurance companies offer discounts on boat insurance to those who complete this
course.

If the student taking this course and exam was born after January 1, 1989, then the student MUST also pre-register with the State of
Tennessee to take the boating exam and pay an additional fee of $10 per person to the State. The exam ticket is Type 600 and can be
obtained from any TWRA fishing/hunting licensing agent. Proof of identity of student may be required. Students are also strongly
encouraged to obtain their textbooks in advance for reading and studying.

The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, created by an Act of Congress in 1939, is the uniformed civilian component of the U.S. Coast Guard and
supports the Coast Guard across all mission areas. For more information on the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a flotilla near you,
visit www.cgaux.org

Barrett Group Finds $60,000 in Sales Tax Money for County

May 31, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Members of County Commission
Donna Barrett of the Barrett Group

A total of $60,777 in local option sales tax funds is being shifted from the cities of Smithville, Liberty, and Dowelltown to the county due to state sales tax reporting errors that were discovered in a review by the Barrett Group of Murfreesboro, who was contracted by the county commission last fall to conduct the study.

During Tuesday night’s county commission meeting, County Mayor Tim Stribling said this money was always due the county instead of the cities but mistakes were made in the reporting of sales tax proceeds from businesses located near the city limits of those three towns.

The portions being taken from the cities and sent to the county for the last 12 months is $60,568 from Smithville, $199 from Dowelltown, and $9.84 from Liberty. None were found in Alexandria.

“It was not due to any fault of the city or county it was just whoever was reporting their sales tax. It won’t change anything as far as dollar amounts they are reporting but they will now report their portion to the county instead of the city,” said County Mayor Stribling.

City Administrator Hunter Hendrixson made the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen aware of the finding during the May 7 city council meeting.

The review was authorized by the county commission last October when it entered into a Revenue Enhancement Consulting Agreement with the Barrett Group of Murfreesboro.

During a prior workshop, Donna Barrett of the Barrett Group addressed the county commission to explain the proposal.

Under the agreement, the Barrett Group was to conduct a review to make sure the county is getting all the revenues it is due from various state taxes that local businesses pay including sales tax, Hall income tax, beer and liquor tax, excise tax, etc.

For example, if a municipality within the county is found from this review to be erroneously receiving any tax revenues from businesses outside of the municipality, then the mistake will be corrected and the tax money will be re-directed to the county.

The Barrett Group is to receive 50% of any extra revenues generated to the county from this review only for the first year. After the first year, no further fees will be paid to Barrett. Had the review turned up no mistakes, the county would not have owed Barrett anything.

In other business, the commission tabled action on a request by the Board of Education for approval of a budget amendment to receive funds from a U-trust mini-grant in the amount of $15,500.

Grant funds are to be used by the school district as follows:
$5,000 for an End of the Year Celebration
$1,000 for Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week
$7,500 for Monthly Teacher/Staff Morale activities
$1,000 for Teacher of the Year Banquet
$1,000 for Board members Meet and Greet/Open House

Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers requested that action on this budget amendment be tabled until school administrators address the commission on why the grant funds are being used in this manner.

“We hear all the time teachers need materials to teach. Why are we throwing $15,500 out when it looks like to me it would go a whole lot better for teacher materials? I understand grants but why is there even this category at a time when they’re wanting teacher pay raises and to build new schools and when teachers are constantly having to reach into their own pockets to buy materials? Can any of this money be diverted”, asked Summers?

“Again I understand grants are very specific and it will probably fall under the category of if we don’t use it somebody else will but I would like to ask questions and table this until next month,” added Summers.

On another matter, the commission adopted a budget amendment in the amount of $120,500 by a 12-2 vote that was previously tabled which would allow the Board of Education to use unexpected new funds from the state for the purpose of helping cover the district’s health insurance costs.

Last fall, the Board of Education voted to add another $50 per month to each teacher who has health insurance through the school system to help ease their burden of soaring out of pocket costs.

A few county commissioners felt that the school board should divide this extra money from the state and give it to teachers to further help them with their out of pocket expense for health insurance.

However, Fifth district commissioner Anita Puckett said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps informed her that this new money from the state is a one-time allocation and non-recurring and it could not be spent directly on teachers in this manner.

In a letter to County Mayor Stribling, Director Cripps wrote that “this money was sent for an increase in the insurance. This money was based on the amount of people who left the limited plan to go to a higher cost plan. This was money that was sent to help school districts pay for the cost difference we incurred between the limited and higher cost plan,” wrote Cripps.

In his monthly sales tax report, County Mayor Stribling said local option sales tax for the month of April for DeKalb County was $64, 017. The net collections for the month of April for DeKalb County was $357,369 which is up over collections for April, 2017 which was $342, 329.

Deadline Approaching for August Write-In Candidates

May 30, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

Contested races for county and city mayor, write-in candidates in Alexandria, and nine candidates for governor highlight the ballot for the August 2 elections.

Elections are scheduled in all four of the county’s cities with the mayor’s race contested in three of those towns, including a ballot of mayoral write-in candidates in Alexandria. In addition the county mayor’s race is contested along with the race for sheriff, road superintendent, circuit court clerk and all seven county commission seats. One of three school board seats will also be contested. State primary elections are set for Governor, U.S. Senate, Congress in the 6th district, Tennessee Senate District 17, Tennessee House 40 and 46 and each party’s state executive committee positions.

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said his office is gearing up for a busy summer in preparation for all the August elections.

“Letters have already been sent to Smithville property rights voters and we should have an official ballot we can send out in the very near future,” Stanley said. “Smithville property rights voters can only vote in the city race by paper ballots and this, of course, has no impact on their voting early or at the polls in the county general and state primary elections.”

In addition, Stanley said the deadline to be a “write-in” candidate for any of the local races is Noon June 13.

“We already have two-write in candidates for mayor in Alexandria and two write-in candidates for aldermen in Alexandria,” Stanley said. The mayor candidates are incumbent Bennett Armstrong and challenger Donna Davis. The other write-in candidates are Shane Blair, an incumbent, for a full four-year term and Bridgette Rogers, for a two-year term that fills a vacancy.

Stanley said a complete official ballot will be available in the coming days and will be published at www.dekalbelections.com and on wjle.com.

Meanwhile, early voting in the August elections is set for July 13 through July 28 (with exact hours to be announced later). The last day to register to vote is July 3 and that applies also to property rights voters.

Four Seasons Fire Hall Project Delayed Again (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 30, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

Another delay in the construction of a new fire hall in the Four Seasons Community.

The county commission has again decided to re-bid the project after offers in the first two rounds of bidding came in too high. But this time, the county may alter the bid specifications and change engineers.

“I think they deserve a fire hall and we’ve told them (community) we’d like to build a fire hall there but I think it’s costly. I think we need to re-draw it, re-think it, and re-bid it. My suggestion is for us to take a look at the drawings and specs again and maybe have it re-drawn. I’ll get with (County Fire Chief) Donny (Green) to see if there is anything that can be cut out and we’ll re-bid it. I want to do a fire hall but I want to take care of our money too,” said County Mayor Tim Stribling during Tuesday night’s County Commission meeting.

Last week three companies submitted bids to build a new fire hall in the Four Seasons Community but they were all much higher than the best bid the county received during the first round of bidding on the project in March.

The latest bids were opened for the fire hall Thursday morning, May 24. Triton Construction of Rockvale had the lowest base bid at $257,000 with two deductive alternates totaling $19,200 (deleting graveling and leveling the parking area and deleting external stairs and lowering the walls). Quality Builders of Sparta submitted a base bid of $278,060 with no deductive alternates and Preston Brothers of Woodbury offered a base bid of $285,300 with two deductive alternates totaling $27,690 (deleting graveling and leveling the parking area and deleting external stairs and lowering the walls).

During the first round on March 29 two bids were received including one for $284,000 from Preston Brothers of Woodbury (minus $11,000 if the county put the gravel on the parking lot) and $197,000 from FTM Contracting of Cookeville (deductive alternate of $2,400).

The county commission, during its regular monthly meeting on April 23, voted to re-bid the project because the first bids received were too high.

County Mayor Stribling said two local builders had come to him recently inquiring about the project but neither submitted a bid

“Would there be an option of the county bidding this out? We have a building committee. Could they sub it out and build it,” asked Second District Commissioner Jimmy Midgett?

“That’s a possibility but anything (project) over $25,000 that the county spends you’ve got to have an engineer or architect according to Tennessee Code Annotated,” replied County Mayor Stribling.

“I can get with Donny (Green) and see if there are some things we can cut out. This is a two bay fire hall. We might could look at a one bay fire hall. You could still have a one bay fire hall with a restroom,” said Stribling.

“There are no frills. Its a metal building with steel construction and concrete floors,” said County Fire Chief Green.

“I am concerned about this because its in my and Commissioner Jerry Adcock’s district and for four years this has been on-going trying to get something constructed. This is affecting our ISO rating. I worry if we keep putting this off the bids are going to continue to get higher. We’re four years into this and not a brick has been laid,” said Fifth District Commissioner Anita Puckett.

“I know we need to look toward the future but we need to look at getting them something we can afford. I think it needs to be a one bay fire hall but it does need a bathroom in it,” added Sixth District Commissioner Betty Atnip.

According to County Mayor Stribling, current plans call for the fire hall to be 40’ x 55’ in size consisting of two bays, a restroom, shower, and a small meeting room. He said while the plans do not include any frills it will be a turnkey project with all the work including construction, concrete pad, septic tank, etc all to be done under one contract.

A new fire station at Four Seasons would be the 12th station in the county operated by the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department. The other fire halls are on Short Mountain Highway, Midway Community, Belk, Keltonburg, Cookeville Highway, Austin Bottom Community, Liberty, Temperance Hall, Main Station, Johnson Chapel, and Blue Springs.

TDOT Provides WJLE Display Maps of Highway 56 Project (VIEW HERE)

May 30, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
TDOT Provides WJLE Display Maps of Highway 56 Project

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has provided to WJLE display maps for the proposed Highway 56 improvement project from State Route 288 to East Bryant Street in Smithville.

The displays of the project are in pdf format and shown in four sections. You may view each section by clicking the links below.

(THE FIRST DISPLAY MAP CAN BE VIEWED BY CLICKING LINK BELOW. THE MAP CAN ALSO BE ENLARGED FOR BETTER VIEWING. IT SHOWS THE PROJECT STARTING SOUTH TO NORTH (LEFT TO RIGHT) FROM STATE ROUTE 288)

10026300 SR56 Display 1.pdf (9.04 MB)

(THE SECOND DISPLAY MAP CAN BE VIEWED BY CLICKING LINK BELOW. THE MAP CAN ALSO BE ENLARGED FOR BETTER VIEWING. IT SHOWS THE PROJECT IN THE SHINEY ROCK COMMUNITY IN THE AREA OF TITTSWORTH CEMETERY AND MYSTIK MARKET)

10026300 SR56 Display 2.pdf (3.46 MB)

(THE THIRD DISPLAY MAP CAN BE VIEWED BY CLICKING LINK BELOW. THE MAP CAN ALSO BE ENLARGED FOR BETTER VIEWING. IT SHOWS THE PROJECT BETWEEN COUNTY HOUSE ROAD AND SOUTH TITTSWORTH ROAD)

10026300 SR56 Display 3.pdf (7.61 MB)

(THE FOURTH DISPLAY MAP CAN BE VIEWED BY CLICKING LINK BELOW. THE MAP CAN ALSO BE ENLARGED FOR BETTER VIEWING. IT SHOWS THE PROJECT BETWEEN VAUGHN LANE AND EAST BRYANT STREET IN SMITHVILLE)

10026300 SR56 Display 4.pdf (11.12 MB)

Several property owners along Highway 56 south turned out for a Design Public Meeting Thursday evening hosted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to learn more about the state’s improvement plans for the road.

Robert Rodgers of the TDOT Region 2 Project Development Office gave a power point presentation of the plans and then took questions from the audience. Detailed maps of the project were also displayed for landowners and others to view.

The Highway 56 improvement will be conducted in three phases. The state plans to build largely two lanes of a proposed four lane project and maintain traffic on the existing Highway 56 (alignment) while construction is being done on the new portion.

TDOT proposes to let bids for two of the phases in December from south of the Warren County line to near Magness Road and from south of State Route 288 near Magness Road to East Bryant Street in Smithville. Construction is expected to begin by next spring. The third segment from near State Route 287 in Warren County to near the DeKalb County Line is not yet ready for bid letting.

“The current bid schedule is the winter of 2018. Currently it is in the December letting which means construction should start in earnest when spring begins in 2019. The second and the third phases currently are scheduled to be let together. Which end is started on, that will be for discussions between our construction office and the contractor. He may decide to start on the north end or the south end of the project,” said Rodgers.

Following the meeting, Rodgers gave a general description of the project for WJLE.

“On the southern part from the DeKalb County line up to Vaughn Lane, its going to be a two lane roadway. There will be left turn lanes at the side roads. As we get closer to Smithville where some of the intersecting roads are offset there will be some extended sections of three lanes. Once we get to Vaughn Lane we will be expanding to the three lane typical all the way up to just past Morgan Branch. When we get past Morgan Branch we will be building a five lane section with curb and gutters and sidewalks,” said Rodgers.

According to Rodgers, the state will deviate from the existing road in the Shiney Rock area in order to bypass the cemeteries.The highway will then tie back in to the existing alignment near Vaughn Lane in Smithville.

“Where the church and the cemetery are now, we are going off alignment because there was not room to fit the proposed finished road in between the two. Traffic on that section will stay on the existing road until the new road is complete,” said Rodgers.

The proposed cross sections for the project are as follows:

*From south of State Route 287 to north of Bessie Gribble Road-two 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, four-foot shoulders and ditches.

* From north of Bessie Gribble Road to Vaughn Lane-two 12-foot travel lanes with 12-foot shoulders and ditches. There will be left turn lanes at intersecting roadways.

*From Vaughn Lane to north of Morgan Branch-two 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, 12-foot shoulders and ditches.

*From north of Morgan Branch to East Bryant Street- four 12-foot travel lanes with a 12-foot continuous center turn lane, four foot shoulders, two-foot curb and gutter, a sidewalk within a 10 foot utility strip on either side.

DeKalb Fire Department Presents Citizen Hero Award (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 30, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bobby Hull (right) has received the DeKalb Fire Department’s Citizen Hero Award.  The presentation was made to Hull by Courtney Nichols (center). Hull is credited for helping save the life of Nichols who was involved in a March traffic accident. Fire Chief Donny Green also pictured
Courtney Nichols Crash Scene on Cookeville Highway March 24

A hometown hero credited for helping save the life of a woman involved in a March traffic accident was honored during Tuesday night’s county commission meeting.

Bobby Hull received the DeKalb County Fire Department’s Citizen Hero Award. The presentation was made to Hull by 18 year old Courtney Nichols, the woman involved in the crash.

The mishap occurred at approximately 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 24. Nichols was injured after her 2002 Jeep Cherokee went off Highway 56 north (Cookeville Highway) and overturned down a steep hillside embankment before coming to rest upside down in a hollow several feet below the road.

According to Trooper Sean Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Nichols was driving south when the Jeep hydroplaned and then went out of control as Nichols overcorrected. The Jeep narrowly missed the end of a guardrail as it left the highway and plunged down the hillside north of Hurricane Bridge in the Blackberry Hill area.

Since there were no witnesses to the accident and the wreckage was out of view from motorists, Nichols went unnoticed for a long period of time. Entrapped in the Jeep, Nichols sounded the horn trying to attract attention.

Hull, a resident close by, heard the sound of the horn from his home and went to investigate. After spotting the wreckage, he sought help.

During Tuesday night's county commission meeting, DeKalb Fire Chief Donny Green described in more detail the incidents surrounding the crash and how Hull’s heroic actions led to this special honor for him.

“On Saturday, March 24, 2018 at approximately 6:00 p.m., 18-year old Courtney Nichols, a Smithville resident, was driving home from work on Cookeville Hwy. As she was navigating a curve on a wet road, her Jeep Cherokee hydroplaned and went out of control and overturned at least once before it came to rest upside down at the bottom of a steep ravine.

There were no witnesses to the accident, her vehicle could not be seen from the highway, and she could not find her cell phone. Although not seriously injured, Courtney was trapped upside down hanging from her seatbelt and she knew her only hope was to sound her car horn hoping that someone might possibly hear it and find her.

That “someone” turned out to be Bobby Hull who lives across the highway on Blackberry Hill Road. Bobby and his wife, Judy, were in the kitchen cooking dinner and, even though it was a cool evening, they had briefly opened the kitchen window. As Bobby stood at the sink, he heard a faint sound of what sounded like a car horn. He mentioned it to his wife and they paused to listen, but didn’t hear it. As Bobby continued to help prepare dinner, he heard the horn again. At that point, he and Judy went to their front porch to investigate. They both stood on the porch for a few moments and did not hear the horn. Just as they began to go back inside, they heard the horn begin to intermittently sound again. It could have been a car alarm or someone playing, but Bobby felt uneasy and decided to pursue his sense of something being wrong. Bobby got in his pickup and drove down to the highway to the point where he thought the sounding horn was coming from. He got out of his truck and then saw skid marks in the grass that ran just behind the end of a guardrail. He walked to the guardrail, heard the horn again, and looked down the steep grade and saw the Jeep upside down at the bottom of the ravine. He immediately called 911 and reported the accident to DeKalb County 911 Center who dispatched emergency responders.

Despite Courtney’s misfortune of this accident, a lot of fortunate and miraculous things happened on the evening of March 24 for Courtney Nichols. Who would have ever thought a kitchen window could play such a pivotal role in life or death? Had the Hull’s not been cooking and decided to open the window on this cool evening, there is simply no way anyone could have heard Courtney’s car horn. How many civilians would have simply blown off the sound of a car horn as nothing very serious? After all, we’ve all heard that familiar sound of a neighbor’s car alarm going off. How many people would have been this aware of their surroundings and acted on a “gut feeling” that something just wasn’t right? I mean seriously, dinner is ready and it’s cold outside.

Although emergency responders did a great job when they got to the scene and removed and treated Courtney, Bobby Hull is the true hero because God allowed him to make a decision to act on something that did not seem normal. Without his action, it is most likely no one would have heard or saw Courtney’s car until it was too late.

DeKalb County Fire Department, DeKalb County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners encourage community involvement on all levels and are honored to recognize Bobby Hull as a Citizen Hero for making a life-saving difference in the outcome of this incident”.

Smithville Police Charge Knoxville Man with Auto Theft

May 29, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bobby Joe Cooper
Brandon Herndon
 Betty Sue George
Joshua Beckham
Crystal Smith

A Knoxville man has been arrested by Smithville Police for an auto theft which occurred in March.

38 year old Bobby Joe Cooper is under a $6,500 bond on a charge of auto theft.

Police were called to Walmart on March 16 where a man reported his vehicle had been stolen from the parking lot by a man he knew, Cooper, from the Sober Living House.

The victim said he had a chance encounter with Cooper at Walmart and that he (Cooper) had asked him for a ride. The victim said he told Cooper to wait until he got his shopping done. But after the victim finished his shopping and left the store he discovered his car was gone. The man told the officer that he left his keys in the ignition and suspected that Cooper had taken the vehicle. The victim said Cooper, who has a drug problem, had left Sober Living where he was residing. During the investigation, Police viewed surveillance video from Walmart and observed Cooper get into the car and drive away leaving the parking lot. A warrant was taken for Cooper's arrest and he was picked up on May 16.

30 year old Karri Margaret Jewells was cited for theft on Friday, May 18. According to police, the victim filed a report on March 15 informing an officer that a woman believed to be Jewells had taken some gardening tools and clothing items from the porch of her home as well as her vehicle without her knowledge or consent. The victim was later informed by another woman that Jewells had tried to sell those items to her. After a further investigation, Jewells was cited for theft. Her court date is June 7.

30 year old Brandon Herndon of Forrest Avenue was arrested on Sunday, May 20 for public intoxication and cited for shoplifting. Police were called to Wal-Mart to check on a possible shoplifter who appeared to be under the influence of drugs. Upon arrival, officers spoke with the man, Herndon and observed his speech to be slow and slurred. Herndon was unsteady on his feet and he could barely stay awake while speaking with officers. Herndon was placed under arrest for his safety and that of the public. During a search incident to arrest, police found concealed on Herndon’s person several items that he hadn't paid for which belonged to Wal-Mart. Bond for Herndon is $1,500 and his court date is June 7.

20 year old Cody W. Chastain of Village Place was cited on Sunday, May 20 for theft of property. Chastain was found to have $99.00 worth of merchandise belonging to Dollar General Store in his backpack which he had not purchased. His court date is June 7.

66 year old Betty Sue George of West Main Street was arrested on Monday, May 21 for domestic assault. Police were called to George’s residence in reference to a domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer was informed that George confronted the victim accusing her of making false statements about her. George then attempted to grab or push the victim leaving her with visible scratch marks on her neck and chest. After a brief struggle, the victim was able to push George away. Bond for George is $3,500 and her court date is June 7.

26 year old Joshua Beckham of White Street was arrested on Monday, May 21 for two counts of aggravated assault, public intoxication, and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search. Police were called to a residence at 319 Jackson Street due to a fight. According to the victims, Beckham came to their residence while they were outside and he approached them in an aggressive and threatening manner holding a cooking pot over his head. A fight then ensued between Beckham and one of the victim's. Upon arrival, the officers observed that Beckham was being restrained by members of a large crowd which had gathered at the scene and that he was bleeding profusely from the area of his head and face. Beckham broke free and started toward the officers in an aggressive manner before turning again toward the crowd. After Beckham refused to comply with their commands to get on the ground, officers fired a taser at him. EMS then transported Beckham to the hospital and police obtained warrants for his arrest. Upon Beckham's release from the hospital he was taken into custody. Bond for Beckham is $14,500 and his court date is June 14.

23 year old Crystal Smith of McMinnville was arrested for public intoxication, simple possession (meth) and she was cited for simple possession (pills). Police were called to the Dairy Queen Sunday, May 20 to check on a woman who was suspected of being under the influence of drugs. Upon arrival officers spoke with the woman, Smith, who was acting and talking very erratically. She appeared to be under the influence of some substance. Smith was then placed in custody for her safety and transported to the police department. Police learned that Smith had used methamphetamine earlier that day and she handed them a small metal container which held a plastic baggie of a white substance believed to be meth weighing less than a gram. The metal container also held a 20 and 60 milligram Vyvanse capsule, a hydrocodone pill and half of another pill which was unidentifiable. Smith had no prescription for the pills. Her bond is $6,000 and her court date is June 7.

An investigation by Smithville Police into suspicious activity in the area of College Street and Bill Page Ball Park has resulted in citations or arrests against several people.

30 year old Karri Margaret Jewells and 35 year old Jimmy Joel Farris were cited for criminal trespassing on Monday, May 21 while 30 year old Christopher J. Luna of Cookeville was arrested on failure to appear warrants from Maury County and 53 year old Randy Anderson of Columbia was taken into custody on a felony warrant for violation of parole in Van Buren County.

The department began an investigation after receiving calls and complaints of several people moving in and out of a wooded area on foot periodically during the day north of Bill Page Ball Park in the area of 513 South College Street. Police have also received calls of suspicious vehicles left parked and unoccupied in the alley north of the ball parks.

According to police, the suspicions have given rise to concerns that someone may be cooking methamphetamine in the woods for resale.

After speaking with the property owners about the complaints on Tuesday, May 15, police learned that no one had permission to be on the site. The next day, officers again received complaints and went to the site where they found both Jewells and Farris, who had camping supplies and a tent set up. Both were ordered to get their belongings off the property by the following Monday, May 21 as they were trespassing. Jewells was immediately taken into custody due to a theft offense against her in a separate incident but she was later released after being issued a citation.

When police followed up with a return visit to the property on Monday, May 21, they found both Jewells and Farris still there along with their tent and camping gear. Both were cited for criminal trespassing and given one more day to evacuate. Luna and Anderson were also present on the property along with two other women. The women were not arrested but both Luna and Anderson were taken into custody on separate warrants. Luna and Anderson informed police that they had recently left the local halfway house.

Found on the ground at the campsite in plain view was a clear baggy of a crystal substance believed to be methamphetamine along with some needles including one needle loaded with a liquid substance. All parties were given a verbal warning to not be back on the property without consent of the owners. Jewells and Farris will make a court appearance on June 14.

Public Asked for Donations to Replace Stolen Bronze Stars from Veterans Monument

May 29, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Photo shows missing bronze star from veteran’s memorial monument at Green Brook Park
Veterans Memorial Monument and Cannons at Green Brook Park

A fundraising effort is underway to replace six bronze stars stolen off the veteran’s memorial monument at Green Brook Park last fall.

The public is asked to support the fundraiser. According to spokesperson Joyce Poss, it will take approximately $1,200 to $1,500 to replace the bronze stars.

“I need names of those wishing to make a pledge and the amount you are willing to pledge. If we get enough pledges, the city will take care of getting the bronze stars ordered. All I need at this time is input and help getting this done. Any amount you can give will be appreciated,” said Poss.

Call 615-597-5164 and leave a message including your name and telephone number and Joyce will return your call.

An off duty city employee discovered the theft last September.

According to City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson, the employee was in the park and noticed that the stars were missing from the monument. Its not known exactly when the theft occurred. City officials believe whoever committed the theft used a pry bar to remove the stars .

The monument and two cannons, once located on the grounds of the former VFW Howard Gill Post 7623 on the Sparta Highway, were relocated to Green Brook Park after the Post was closed three years ago. The six sided monument stands in tribute to those from DeKalb County who lost their lives during the Spanish American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and Iraqi Freedom.

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins said the Police Department is seeking tips from the public. If you have information that may help solve the crime contact Crime Stoppers at 615-464-6199

Franklin Praises Defenders of Freedom (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

May 28, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Local Veterans place wreath at Veterans Memorial Monument at courthouse following Memorial Day Program Monday morning at county complex

Vietnam Veteran and former TWRA officer Ben Franklin honored fallen soldiers and those still living who carry the scars of combat during his remarks at Monday’s Memorial Day observance at the county complex.

Franklin praised those who laid down their lives for this country, saying they did it to preserve the Constitution and the freedoms it stands for. It is because of them, Franklin said that we get to enjoy the Liberty we have today.

“I have been to 17 foreign countries but there is no place like the USA. We have more freedom than anybody anywhere, “ he said.

In today’s society, Franklin said many have a misplaced view of heroism.

M2U02761 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

“In my opinion they have a misguided perception of heroes. Most of them think they are people who can run fast or throw and catch a ball. Those who run up to each other and bump their chests and throw high fives. My idea of a hero is a 19 or 20 year old with a gun 6,000 miles away from home in Afghanistan or Iraq who doesn’t know who his enemy is. That is my idea of a hero,” he added.

Franklin admonished the audience to always remember those who served, both fallen soldiers and living veterans, as well as their families; those who treated wounded warriors during combat; POW’s and MIA’s; and the veterans who committed suicide due to the horrors of war after they returned home.

He also encouraged people to always exercise their privilege of voting and support candidates who will stand for the Constitution and “won’t take our freedoms away”, said Franklin.

Choking back emotion, Franklin closed his remarks by saying “God Bless the families of the soldiers who have died for this country. God Bless the Veterans and the Military soldiers who are serving today and God Bless America”.

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