Local News Articles

Memorial Day Program Features Remarks by WW II P.O.W.

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

The American Legion Post # 122 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7623 hosted a Memorial Day Celebration Monday at the courthouse.

Joe Goodwin, the guest speaker, gave an emotional account of his horrifying experiences as a Prisoner of War in Germany during World War II. Goodwin, a native of White County, has been a resident of Smithville since 1958 and is believed to be the only surviving DeKalb County World War II Prisoner of War.

Louise Brown read an inspiring poem she had written about the "Grand Ole Flag" and patriotic and inspirational music was performed by Susan Hinton and the gospel group, "For the Lord".

At the conclusion of the program a wreath was placed at the veterans memorial monument on the south side of the courthouse as Colton Rhody played taps on his trumpet.

County Firefighters Contain Kitchen Fire at Webb Lane Trailer Home

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded to a kitchen fire Sunday night at the trailer home of Mark Brock at 711 Webb Lane.

Firefighters say they were called to the scene at 6:51 p.m. The Brock family rents the trailer from the owner, Jim and Lois Davis.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, Belk, and Blue Springs stations and Tanker truck #1 quickly arrived and were able to contain the fire to the stove and hood area of the kitchen without any other structural damage to the residence.

Brock suffered a second degree burn on his hand as he removed a skillet from the stove. He was treated on the scene by DeKalb EMS.

Sheriff's Department Makes Two Arrests in Burglary and Theft at Sligo Marina

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested two men Saturday after responding to a possible burglary in progress at Sligo Marina on Highway 70 east.

51 year old Roy Lyndell Layne of Henley Circle, Altamont is charged with burglary, aggravated burglary, theft under $500, attempted theft over $5,000, possession of burglary tools (screwdrivers, wire pliers, police scanner), resisting arrest, unlawful possession of a hand gun with the intent to go armed, and possession of a schedule IV drug (Soma). Total bond was set at $69,000.

The other man, 25 year old Tristan Layne of Layne Circle, Palmer, Tennessee is charged with burglary, theft of property under $500, and attempted theft of property over $5,000. Total bond is $20,000.

Both men will appear in court on the charges June 12th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Saturday deputies responded to a possible burglary in progress at Sligo Marina. The complainant was able to give a description of the vehicle and a description of the suspects. Upon arrival, officers saw one of the suspects, Tristan Layne, in the described vehicle and another man Roy Layne, who was behind another vehicle, take off running. The deputy chased Roy Layne to a guardrail, which was in the parking lot, and Layne raised a screwdriver that he was holding in an attempt to stab the deputy. The officer then struck Layne with his hand and was able to subdue him. Layne also had a pill in his pocket believed to be Soma.

Tristan Layne was taken into custody without incident.

After searching the suspect's vehicle, deputies found other items from another vehicle burglary at Sligo including a canvas bag containing a Freon gauge and hose kit. A loaded 40 caliber Keltec and a police scanner were also found in the vehicle.

Alexandria Police Arrest Man and Wife in Burglary Investigation

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Police Department has arrested a man and his wife in a recent burglary investigation.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins says that on Sunday, May 25th , Sergeant Chris Russell arrested 34 year old John Charles Deck Jr. and his wife 31 year old Crystal Deck for Burglary and Theft of property over $10,000 after an investigation revealed the two had allegedly broken into a storage unit at Big Rock Storage on Nashville Highway in Alexandria.

Sergeant Russell responded to a complaint that the two were trying to sell the stolen goods to a family member of the owner of the property who recognized the items and called police. The two were found to have some of the stolen items in their possession in the trunk of a car.

The investigation revealed that the two had broken into the storage unit on two different occasions on May 24th and May 25th and carried the items to several locations and sold or attempted to sell them. Their court date is June 19th and total bond for each is $75,000. The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests are expected. Offficer Rejena Parker assisted in the case.

V.F.W. Post #7623 Observes Memorial Day

May 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

The V.F.W. Post #7623 hosted a Memorial Day weekend observance and breakfast Sunday morning.

Norene Anderson, a Gold Star mother, was also honored.

Anderson's son, Ronnie Reeder, entered the U.S. Marine Corps in 1965 and died in Vietnam on January 29th, 1967.

Mrs. Anderson says Reeder sent her many letters while he was in the service and she usually reads them again on Memorial Day. " This day means a time set aside to remember all who gave their lives and those who served our country. It means a great, great deal. I still have my son's letters that he wrote to me in service and I take this day, sometime during the day to read those letters. It's my way of dealing with it. To me it is a great thing for the VFW and other people to remember our veterans."

Mrs. Anderson says she also had two brothers, Wilson Summers and Noel Summers, who served during World War II. They are now deceased.

Harold Martin, guest speaker, said all Americans should recognize the significance of this occasion. "Memorial Day is that special day when we should all reflect on what the men and women as veterans have contributed to this great country of ours. From the American Revolution to the current times, more than 43 million men and women have served in one of the military services. From the beginning until now, 1,194,000 men and women have sacrificed their lives for the defense and the freedoms of our country. Of that number, more than half, which would be 651,000 died on the battle field. The other deaths were something other than directly in battle. In addition to the great number of lives lost, approximately one and a half million veterans including soldiers, sailors, and marines, were wounded. Some so severely, that it affected significantly the rest of their lives, such as paraplegics and those with brain and head injuries. So the folks that secured our freedom, given us the America that we love, the greatest country on earth, we will always owe a debt of gratitude to these people that can never be repaid. America has produced many fine statesmen, Presidents, congressmen, senators, and governors, that have led our nation down the path to make us the great nation that we are. However, the men and women who have served this country as soldiers, sailors, marines coast guard, and merchant marines, they have been and always will be the cornerstone of this country. Without their sacrifices, their willingness, their service, there might not be an America. Every veteran here and all across America should feel enormous pride in the fact that you've served your country to the best of your ability."

Two Men Allegedly Caught Committing a Theft

May 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

Two men were arrested last week after allegedly being caught committing a theft.

28 year old Christopher Pearson Myers and 25 year old Michael Ray Reeder
both of Pine Orchard Road ,Smithville were charged Monday with Burglary, Aggravated
Burglary, and Theft of Property over $500.00.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the two were caught by a land owner on Cookeville Highway stealing items out of a house and outbuilding. The two allegedly took items such as 2 gas heaters, 2 plows, chest freezer, cookstove, several hand operated tools, and other items valued at over
$500. Bond for both was set at $22,500 and their court date is set for June 5th.

Meanwhile on Thursday, 50 year old Katrina J. Laliberte of Circle Drive, Dowelltown was
charged with a first offense of driving under the influence after she was involved in an accident in Dowelltown.

Sheriff Ray says Laliberte was operating an ATV on Sims Street in Dowelltown when she wrecked. After deputies arrived, they smelled a strong odor of alcohol on her person. She also had slurred speech and she was unsteady on her feet. She was given field sobriety tasks which she failed. Laliberte was then placed under arrest. Her bond was set at $1,500 and her court date is June 12th.

DeKalb Teachers to Attend NASA Workshop, Shuttle Launch

May 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

Four teachers from DeKalb and Cannon County will participate in NASA workshops and watch a space shuttle launch at Kennedy Space Center as guests of U.S. Representative Bart Gordon.

Anita Arnold of Short Mountain Elementary, Lisa Cripps and Karen Pelham of DeKalb Middle School, and Genrose Davis of DeKalb West Elementary School will attend workshops and watch the launch of the space shuttle Discovery, which is scheduled for early evening Saturday, May 31st.

"I'm hoping it will increase their interest in math and science, particularly science," Arnold said of the eight graders she teaches. "I try to stress that science is something that affects us every day."

Both Cripps and Pelham teach eighth graders, Cripps teaches science, and Pelham teaches math and science. Davis, a librarian for 32 years, says she is excited about the trip.

"This will open up the space and rocket sections of my books. We have several, but I'm sure I'll be looking for more," Davis said. "I have been to Cape Canaveral and toured inside about 35 years ago. Lots of things have changed in 35 years, especially in space."

Gordon, chairman of the House Science and Technology Committee, worked with NASA officials to develop an itinerary the teachers can take back to their classrooms to build enthusiasm about math and science among their students. Strengthening math and science education is a cornerstone of Gordon's America COMPETES ACT, which became law last year in an effort to keep the United States competitive in the global marketplace.

"When you ask astronauts, engineers and other scientists what inspired them to enter their fields, most of them will tell you they were inspired by a teacher," said Gordon. "I hope this experience will give these teachers another way to inspire their students.

This group will be the second group of teachers from Gordon's congressional district to attend a space shuttle launch as guests of the congressman. A group of 10 teachers met with Gordon and attended a rare night launch of the space shuttle Endeavor on March 10th.

"Many of those teachers told me that experience will greatly enhance their lessons on math and science," said Gordon.

Fourteen teachers from DeKalb, Rutherford, Wilson, and Trousdale counties have been selected to watch the space shuttle Discovery launch.

The teachers will begin their experience on Friday afternoon, May 30th, with a tour of the launch pad, vehicle assembly building and shuttle landing facility at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

On Saturday, May 31st, the group will attend professional development workshops with NASA personnel to help the educators develop lessons on rocketry and technology used by astronauts. The teachers will then have VIP access to view the shuttle launch, scheduled to occur at 5:02 p.m.

State House Acts to Expand Scholarships to Nearly 12,000 Tennessee Students

May 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

On Wednesday, The State House of Representatives passed legislation to provide for college scholarships for approximately 12,000 Tennesseans.

"This bill helps nearly 12,000 Tennesseans achieve the American dream of earning a college degree," said Representative Frank Buck. "By helping more students retain the HOPE Scholarship, we're going to improve Tennessee's graduation rates and erase college debt for thousands of local students."

The new legislation places $359.5 million of lottery reserve funds into an endowment that is expected to produce recurring revenues of over $27.5 million. These revenues will fund the expansion of Tennessee's HOPE Scholarship, reducing the retention GPA from 3.0 to 2.75 for the first three years of college, followed by a per semester minimum of 3.0 for every semester after a student's junior year. The funds will also allow students to extend the amount of time they may maintain the HOPE Scholarship to 5 years.

"So many things can happen during a student's college experience, and to allow one bad semester to ruin a child's long term future is against everything that the HOPE Scholarship stands for," Buck said. "With these recurring dollars, we can help nearly 4,000 students a year retain their scholarship and continue their education. Many Tennesseans have to work to get through college and we're going to help these folks."

In addition to the expansion of the HOPE Scholarship, the bill also funds up to 5,000 need-based TSAC grants designed to help students who currently qualify for financial assistance. The new legislation will also fund the "Helping Heroes Act of 2008," a grant service that will assist returning Tennessee soldiers from Irag and Afghanistan with college and cover the shortfall that is currently created by the federal GI bill.

"Our brave men and women returning home from war deserve a fully-funded college education and thanks to the Helping Heroes Act, Tennessee soldiers will," Buck said.

Upon signature by Governor Phil Bredesen, the new legislation is slated to go into effect on July 1st, 2008.

Early Voting Begins Wednesday for City Election

May 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

Early voting for the Smithville Municipal Election begins Wednesday, May 28th.

Voting will be held Mondays through Saturdays, May 28th through June 12th in the basement courtroom of the courthouse. Voting hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. and Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 17th.

Candidates for mayor are Incumbent Taft Hendrixson and challenger Faye Driver Fuqua.

Aldermen contenders are incumbents Steven White and Cecil Burger and challengers Danny Washer and Alford Webber.

On election day, the polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. also in the basement of the courthouse.

Woods and Turner Receive White Rose Awards at DCHS Graduation

May 23, 2008
Dwayne Page
Tyler Woods
Tayla Turner
Travis Woodward

Tyler Woods and Tayla Turner received the White Rose Awards from Principal Kathy Hendrix. Travis Woodward received the Citizenship Award.

Click on an image to see larger.

It was a night of tears and cheers for members of the Class of 2008 at DeKalb County High School Friday evening on the occasion of their graduation.

Three of the most outstanding members of the class were singled out for special recognition. This year's White Rose Awards went to Tyler Woods and Tayla Turner while the Citizenship Award was presented to Travis Woodward.

The White Rose is presented to a boy and girl from the class for outstanding achievement and leadership, academics, and other activities. The Citizenship Award is given to the senior who has demonstrated outstanding service, devotion and loyalty to DeKalb County High School. The honors students were also recognized during the program.

A total of 154 students received diplomas during the commencement, each one shaking hands with Director of Schools Mark Willoughby as their names were called by Principal Kathy Hendrix.

In remarks to the Class, Valedictorian Nick Winchester urged his fellow students to make good use of their education. " As Edward Koch once said, "The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse. As we sit here amongst our family and friends, this is not only a time to celebrate all the hard work and dedication, but a time to reminisce on all the memories that have made our high school career the one it was. Cherish these days and hold them close to your heart. There are never going to be anymore like them. As we think about the long journey we just completed, we could have never done it if it weren't for the teachers. If I do say so myself, they have done a spectacular job with us. As each of you set for the road ahead, remember Jeremiah 29:11 that states, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Keep your goals high and reach for the stars."

Class Officer Tyler Woods advised the graduates to let God guide them. " We are here to hopefully shed perspective on what it is we've accomplished, where it is we've come from, and what we have in store for our future. The greatest years of our life will not come in one era. It will come day by day as we let God make it what he wills. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. " Proverbs 3:5-6. It is so powerful to me. God is sovereign and if we want to be truly in control we must surrender control."

Principal Kathy Hendrix, in her remarks to the class, admonished the graduates to confront life's challenges and work to achieve their dreams. " Graduation marks the end of high school and the beginning of a bright future. But more importantly, it marks achievement. It's a ceremony of honor and recognition. Your teachers, parents, and grandparents have given you the foundation, the base upon which to build. The rest will be largely up to you. I would challenge you tonight never to stop learning. Cultivate and exercise your mind as you go through life. Stay focused on your goals in life. Sometimes you may fall down. Get right back up and go forward. Acknowledge your obstacles. Don't empower them. If you're not prepared for your journey and everyday challenges, search for what you can do to help get you prepared. Finally, I hope you will find tasks worthy of your abilities. Confront challenges deserving of your enthusiasm and work to achieve your dreams."


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