Local News Articles

Inmate Charged with Assaulting Another Prisoner in Jail

November 3, 2014
Dwayne Page
Joseph Stephen Audas
Frank Stokton Dame

An inmate at the DeKalb County Jail has been charged with assaulting another prisoner.

29 year old Joseph Stephen Audas of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is under a $1,500 bond and he will be in court November 6. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, October 30 a correctional officer heard inmates hitting on a door in the jail annex. He went to investigate and met an inmate at the door who had a black and bloody eye. After reviewing video from the surveillance system, the correctional officer determined that Audas was the primary aggressor. When confronted, Audas allegedly admitted to having thrown the first punch in a fight with the other inmate.

48 year old Frank Stokton Dame of Culver Street, Chattanooga is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued a citation for failure to maintain lane of travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court November 13. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, November 1 a deputy pulled over a 2006 Nissan Xterra for failing to maintain lane of travel. The officer spoke with the driver, Dame and noticed that he had a strong odor of alcohol on him. The deputy asked Dame to step out of the vehicle. Dame was unsteady on his feet. He submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Dame also consented to a blood test. He was placed under arrest.

52 year old Russell Alan Ross of Lee Young Road, Smithville is cited for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia (pipe). Sheriff Ray said Ross was stopped by a sheriff's department detective for possibly being intoxicated. A search of Ross yielded a baggie containing marijuana. The detective also found inside Ross' vehicle a pill bottle which held marijuana. Ross told the detective that he had a marijuana pipe in the front door of the vehicle. The pipe was found and recovered. His court date is November 20.

Susie White celebrates 35 Years with NHC

November 3, 2014
Dwayne Page
Susie White celebrates 35 Years with NHC

NHC Smithville recently held a celebration for Susie White on the anniversary of 35 years as a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) at NHC Smithville. A reception was held on Wednesday, October 29 with cake and punch at NHC where Mrs. White received some special gifts as well as a plaque and pin celebrating her 35 years of service. Mrs. White began her CNA career on October 23, 1979 at the NHC owned, Sunny Point Health Care. For her entire career, Mrs. White has worked night shift, and continues to do so.

"Susie White is an icon at NHC Smithville and we were proud to honor her on this very special occasion,” Administrator Clint Hall said. “She is one of the most caring and compassionate people I know. Her dedication to her patients and families is paramount and serves as an example to others. We are fortunate to have her as a part of the NHC family.”

“I have always enjoyed taking care of people,” Mrs. White said. “I have been blessed in my life and this is a way for me to serve others. There is no substitute for the rewarding feeling I get every time I take care of my patients.”

Mrs. White is a native of Dekalb County and is a member of United Pentecostal Church. She has been recognized as a CNA of the Year for NHC Smithville countless times and was honored as the NHC Central Region’s CNA of the Year in 2005.

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, workers compensation, managed care, and private funds. The inpatient healthcare center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and continuing care basis. NHC Smithville’s outpatient clinic offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

Two Seriously Injured in Saturday Night Crash

November 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Two Seriously Injured in Saturday Night Crash
2007 Suzuki driven by 22 year old Rosedaly R. Hernandez of McMinnville
1998 Chevy Blazer driven by 51 year old Judy Merriman of Smithville

Two persons were involved in a near head on crash Saturday night on East Broad Street in Smithville near Foutch Industries, LLC.

Central dispatch received the call just after 6:00 p.m.

51 year old Judy Merriman of Smithville and 22 year old Rosedaly R. Hernandez of McMinnville were seriously injured and airlifted. Merriman was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later flown to Vanderbilt Hospital. Hernandez was airlifted from near the scene by Life Force and flown to Erlanger Hospital.

Trooper Gerald Carter told WJLE that Merriman, driving a 1998 Chevy Blazer, was traveling east on Highway 70 when she got in the turning lane and pulled into the path of a westbound 2007 Suzuki car driven by Hernandez. Both women were entrapped in their vehicles. The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was summoned to perform extrication. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also called to assist city firefighters.

Smithville Police officers were also on the scene

Friday Night Fire Destroys Mobile Home

November 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
Friday Night Fire Destroys Mobile Home

A fire Friday night destroyed a double wide mobile home on Banks Pisgah Road.

Central dispatch received the call at 9:16 p.m.

David Agee, Assistant Fire Chief for the DeKalb County Fire Department told WJLE that Brandon and Shelli Ervin owned the mobile home but no one was living there. The Ervin's were in the process of getting the home ready to rent out. The cause of the fire is apparently undetermined.

The blaze gutted the home and firefighters were unable to save it.

Members of the Keltonburg, Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Main Stations responded along with the tanker truck and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Chamber Announces Winners of Halloween Costume Contest

November 2, 2014
Dwayne Page
First place - Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance

The Chamber of Commerce held a Costume Contest during the Halloween Downtown event for all downtown businesses and offices.

Nineteen groups participated making it a "SPOOK"tacular day of festivities and cutthroat competition. Participants included Gotro Surveying, DeKalb Insurance, Pioneer Credit, C.J.'s Party Place, Tangles, Miroir Miroir, Webb's Gifts, This & That, Charlie Max & Co., Regions Bank, DeKalb Board of Education, Justin Potter Library, Election Office, Circuit Court Clerk office, Co. Mayor's office, Fast Pace Urgent Care, City of Smithville.

Winners: First place - Jackie Smith State Farm Insurance, Second place - Smithville Review, Third place -Drug Court

Tigers to Face Signal Mountain in State Playoffs

November 1, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers are in the state play-offs after defeating the Smith County Owls 13-0 on a cold and blustery Halloween night in Smithville Friday.

The Tigers will travel to Signal Mountain for the first round of the 4A playoffs on Friday, November 7 at 7:00 p.m. The Eagles of Signal Mountain are 8-2 with a 4-1 district record. They have defeated East Hamilton 28-19, Tyner Academy 35-0, Bledsoe County 56-0, Red Bank 49-13, Grundy County 70-14, Bradley Central 27-7, Chattanooga Christian 49-14, and Sequatchie County 58-3. The Eagles have lost to Notre Dame 35-3 and to Greeneville 31-10

This is the fourth consecutive year the Tigers have earned a berth in the play-offs. It's their sixth appearance in the last seven years. "Its something that has never happened, going four years in a row. A group of seniors who have had the opportunity to go to the post season four times in their playing career at DeKalb County High School. It's very special. Come Monday we'll get back to work. We just got film on Signal Mountain and the coaching staff is already preparing," said Tiger Coach Steve Trapp. "Overall they are 8-2. They are district champions. In our quad the top four seeds are all district champions. We are a five seed and they are a four seed. There's also a 10-0 team and a 9-1 team in Livingston, who is a two seed and Hixson who is a three seed and a district champion at 8-2 and then Signal Mountain so quad two is a very tough quad but we step up to any challenge we face and are excited to have this opportunity," said Coach Trapp.

In the game with Smith County Friday night, neither team scored in the first period but Quarterback Steven Jennings got the Tigers on the board with 1:32 left in the second period on a 10 yard touchdown run. Matthew Poss added the extra point to give DeKalb County a 7-0 halftime lead.

Neither team scored in the third period but DeKalb County added another TD with 8:34 left in the fourth period on an 11 yard run by Quarterback Steven Jennings. The extra point attempt was no good but the Tigers went on to win 13-0.

DeKalb County finishes the regular season at 5-5 overall and second place in the district at 4-2.

Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack to Speak at Chamber Prayer Breakfast

October 31, 2014
Dwayne Page
Katherine Pack

The annual Chamber Prayer Breakfast will be held on Tuesday, November 25th at 7 AM at the DeKalb County Complex Community Theatre, 712 South Congress Drive, Smithville.

Katherine Pack will be the keynote speaker. Katherine is a lifelong resident of DeKalb County. She has served as Circuit Court Clerk for the past 12 years. She is a very active member of Elizabeth Chapel Baptist Church where she teaches an adult Sunday School class, plays the piano, helps with VBS, and sings in The Living Christmas Tree production. Katherine is very community-minded including involvement with the Smithville Senior Citizens, DeKalb Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Foster Care Review Board, Drug Court Community Board, Rotary Club, and DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department Citizens Academy. Katherine has 3 wonderful children - daughter Tish and husband Chris Summers, son Todd and wife Melissa Pack, and daughter Kate Pack. She has 2 grandsons Brayden Summers and Ty Morris. Katherine loves DeKalb County and is honored to be speaking at the Chamber Prayer Breakfast.

Special music will be performed by Josh Issac and by keyboardist Tomomi McDowell. Suzanne Slager will perform the National Anthem while local Boy Scout Troop #347 presents the flags. Prayers for our community, our leaders, and our children will make this a meaningful and memorable experience.

A delicious breakfast will be catered by Jason Evans, head chef at The Inn at Evins Mill. Leadership Director Jen Sherwood and the Leadership DeKalb Class of 2015 will serve the beverages. Doors open at 6:30 AM.

Tickets are $12 per person and can be purchased at the Chamber office, from the Chamber Board of Directors, or by calling the Chamber office. We’ll be glad to hold your tickets at the door.

Chamber Executive Director, Suzanne Williams says, “I would like to invite everyone to join us at this special event in giving thanks to God for the abundant blessings He has given us in our county. The Prayer Breakfast is a wonderful way to begin the holiday season.” For tickets or additional information, call the Chamber at 597-4163.

Turnout for Early Voting Down

October 31, 2014
Dwayne Page

A total of 1,559 persons took advantage of early voting in DeKalb County during the two week period from October 15-30. That's down from four years ago when 1,989 people voted and way down from two years ago in a Presidential election year when 3,196 people voted early here.

The largest single day turnout was the last day, Thursday October 30 when 267 showed up to vote, including 158 in person and nine by absentee.

A total of 456 voters in Smithville cast ballots plus 69 property rights voters. The City of Smithville has two liquor referendums on the ballot November 4th.

The DeKalb early vote breakdown in the state house districts are as follows: A total of 1,177 voted in District 40 (Terri Lynn Weaver's district) and 382 voted in district 46 (Mark Pody's district) plus any absentees that may come in later.

The precinct breakdown of early voting is as follows:

Alexandria: 79
Temperance Hall:49
Edgar Evins State Park:5
Snow Hill:78
Church of God:362
Cherry Hill:19
Rock Castle:3
Johnson Chapel:59
County Complex:199
Blue Springs:42
Church of Christ:202

The vote totals each day are as follows:

Wednesday (October 15): 85 in person and 16 by absentee for a total of 101
Thursday: 82 in person and 2 by absentee for a total of 84
Friday: 77 in person and 1 by absentee for a total of 78
Saturday: 62 in person
Monday: 98 in person and 3 by absentee for a total of 101
Tuesday: 92 in person
Wednesday: 80 in person and 7 by absentee for a total of 87
Thursday: 122 in person and 9 by absentee for a total of 131
Friday: 89 in person and 2 by absentee for a total of 91
Saturday: 58 in person and 5 by absentee for a total of 63
Monday: 116 in person and 6 by absentee for a total of 122
Tuesday: 99 in person and 10 by absentee for a total of 109
Wednesday: 167 in person and 4 by absentee for a total of 171
Thursday: 158 in person and 9 by absentee for a total of 267

Election day is Tuesday, November 4. Voting at all sixteen precincts in DeKalb County will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. Listen for LIVE coverage of local election returns Tuesday night when the polls close at 7:00 p.m. on WJLE AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming on www.wjle.com

Trial Date Delayed Again for Former UCDD Officials

October 30, 2014
Dwayne Page

The trial date for former UCDD officials Wendy Askins and Larry Webb has been delayed again in U.S. District Court.

The case was scheduled to go to trial on December 2 but has now been reset for July 14, 2015.

Attorneys for Webb, Edward Yarbrough and Alex Little filed the motion seeking the delay on October 16 stating they needed more time to prepare because of the complexity of the case and the busy trial schedule of the attorneys in other cases.

U.S. District Judge Aleta Trauger signed the order October 21 resetting the jury trial for July 14, 2015.

WJLE has obtained a copy of the motion filed by Webb's attorneys which states "As grounds for this motion to continue the trial date, the defendant (Webb) would state: On May 23, 2014, this court entered an order setting this case for trial on December 2, 2014. As the court is aware, the allegations in this case involve fraud transactions that are complex. Similarly, the discovery materials have been voluminous."

"Due to the busy trial schedule of counsel for Mr. Webb and deadlines for filing briefs in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and the Tennessee Court of Criminal Appeals, counsel submits that additional time is needed to prepare for this case. For example, between now and the trial date, counsel for Mr. Webb are scheduled to be in trial for an attempted murder case in Davidson County, and represent the victim in a rape case headed to trial as well. In addition, counsel must file no less than four appellate briefs before the trial date."

"On October 16, 2014, counsel spoke with Assistant U.S. Attorney Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur, and she represented that the United States does not oppose defendant's (Webb's) motion to continue. In addition, counsel for Mrs. Askins also stated that he did not oppose this request.

"Mr. Webb will file a signed Waiver of Speedy Trial, which will be submitted forthwith".

"Wherefore, for the reasons detailed above, the defendant (Webb) would respectfully request that his motion to continue the trial of this matter be granted".

In her order resetting the trial date, Judge Trauger wrote that "As soon as it appears that the case will be tried, the parties shall notify Judge Trauger's courtroom deputy of the anticipated number of trial days that will be necessary."

"Any plea agreement shall be consummated by noon on the Thursday before the trial, and the courtroom deputy notified thereof. Any proposed plea agreement shall be submitted to the court by noon on the Friday before the trial. No plea agreement will be entertained unless it is in compliance with this Order."

"In advance of any plea hearing, the United States Attorney shall submit to chambers a document that lists the elements of each offense to which the defendant is pleading guilty and the statutory penalty for each, including period of incarceration, fine, and period of supervised release applicable".

"If the case is to be tried, the parties shall file the following by the close of business on the Tuesday before the trial":

"An agreed set of jury instructions. Alternative versions of jury instructions on which there is not an agreement, with citations to supporting authorities. An agreed verdict form or alternative versions, and motions in limine".

"Responses to motions in limine shall be filed by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday before trial. Parties shall deliver to chambers a computer disc containing all proposed instructions and verdict forms that are filed," the judge's order concluded.

A federal grand jury in September, 2013 indicted Askins and Webb as a result of the Living the Dream investigation. Their charges include theft, bank fraud and money laundering.

4-H Members Finish Chick-Chain Project

October 30, 2014
Dwayne Page
Jamison Trapp exhibited the Grand Champion pullets at the 4-H Chick Chain Show.
Summer Crook exhibited the Reserve Champion pullets at the 4-H Chick Chain Show.
DeKalb County 4-H members who exhibited chickens at the 4-H Chick-Chain Show

A number of 4-H members recently completed the 4-H chick-chain project. The chick-chain project began this past Spring when the 4-H members received a group 20 baby chicks. They had the responsibility of providing them with everything from feed and water to shelter and love.
The final step in the project is the annual 4-H Chick-Chain Show and Sale. The 4-H members who started this Spring with 20 chicks brought back five pullets for the show. They were judged and graded based on maturity and growth of the bird into groups of blue and red pullets. Trent Jones of Carthage served as judge of the chick-chain show. A pen of Grand and Reserve Champions were selected from all the entries.

The 4-H members received ribbons and prize money based on how their chickens placed. This year’s Grand Champion pen was raised by Jamison Trapp. The Reserve Champion pen was raised by Summer Crook. Other 4-H members who exhibited chickens at the show were: Briana Agee, Jenna Cantrell, Morgan Clifton, Katie Colwell, Clayton Crook, Lynsey Ellis, Haidyn Hale, Lily Martin, Will Pursell, Madison Ray, Skylar Southard, Kristopher Stansberry, Parker Vantrease, Hagen Waggoner, and Brendan Wagner. At the conclusion of the show, the pullets were sold at auction. Mr. George Taylor served as the auctioneer. The proceeds from the auction will be used to purchase chicks for next year’s project.

Picture captions:

Jamison Trapp exhibited the Grand Champion pullets at the 4-H Chick Chain Show.

Summer Crook exhibited the Reserve Champion pullets at the 4-H Chick Chain Show.

DeKalb County 4-H members who exhibited chickens at the 4-H Chick-Chain Show and Sale were: Briana Agee, Jenna Cantrell, Morgan Clifton, Katie Colwell, Clayton Crook, Summer Crook, Lynsey Ellis, Haidyn Hale, Lily Martin, Will Pursell, Madison Ray, Skylar Southard, Kristopher Stansberry, Jamison Trapp, Parker Vantrease, Hagen Waggoner, and Brendan Wagner


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