Local News Articles

Fort Campbell Soldier Says U.S. Presence In Iraq Making A Difference

November 13, 2006
Dwayne Page

A large crowd turned out for a special Veteran's Day recognition program at the courthouse Saturday morning.

The special guest speaker for the occasion was Colonel Thomas Lippart of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Lippart, who has served three tours of duty in Iraq, said the strength of this nation is not in it's weapons, but in it's people. \" This nation is built on it's people. It's not the technology. The United States has always been known for it's great technology but that's not what makes our military great. There's lots of other countries out there that have a lot of technology. It's the people who make us such a powerful nation to deal with.\"

Colonel Lippart said while many still question whether the United States military should be in Iraq, most still support the troops. \"I still believe firmly in my heart that the American people by and large support it's military and are in fact there for us and stand behind us. I returned from Iraq on September 2nd and I've had many people come up to me and say thank you for your service and for what you have done.\"

While most of the news coming out of Iraq seems to be bad, Colonel Lippart said there are a lot of good things happening there too. \"When we first got to Iraq, obviously we had not established a relationship with the local vendor base and were still coming back to the states for most of the supplies we were buying. But the longer we are there, the more we are growing the local economy back. We're starting to do more and more business with the local economy. In fiscal year 2006, our contracting command did about 27,000 contracts and just about half of those were with Iraqi vendors but that's increasing every day. It increased by about 25% when I first got there to nearly 50% when I left, so we're doing more and more business with the economy, with the local businessmen to try to build their economy.\"

Colonel Lippart gave some examples of how the Iraqi people have benefitted from the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. \" On many occasions, some of these Iraqi people, because I was a point of contact, held me responsible for some of the wonderful things that have been happening to them. They were so gracious and so thankful for us being in Iraq and helping them with the good things. I heard stories of how none of the power generation plants and none of the sewage treatment plants had any kind of repairs, modifications, or updates since they were built in the late 1950's and early 1960's. The entire country was in disrepair. There's a small suburb of Baghdad where, only as recent as about eight months ago, did we finally get the power generators fixed so that we could get the pumps running to pump the sewage out of the city. There was six inches of sewage running through about a one mile square city area. Imagine your children having to walk through that on their way to school. Because of our engineers, technology and our assistance to show them how to do it, they now have the power generators working again and the pumps are working and they're able to get the sewage out. That's just one small example.\"

Colonel Lippart says in addition to a stronger economy, educational opportunities are improving in Iraq. \"We've had an opportunity to put new roofs on the schools. The textbooks the students were using were from the 1960's. They never bought new textbooks. These people are so much better off. Young girls are now allowed into the schools again. For a number of years, there were no young girls going to school whatsoever. So while I know that it's a matter of opinion whether you believe we should be there or not, I just wanted to share with you today that we're doing a tremendous amount of good in Iraq and while it's frustrating to see all the bad stuff on TV, we must show them what right looks like. There's an entire generation there that doesn't know what it looks like. They don't know what organization looks like. There were no city councils before, now there are because we've stood them up in all the little towns. They now have organization on how to provide services for their people.\"

Colonel Lippart is a 1989 graduate of Penn State University and later received his Masters degree in Business Administration at the University of Texas. He is a Distinguished Military graduate, having been commissioned into the U.S. Army where he joined the Aviation branch. During 2001-2002, he attended the Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He has been the Chief of Contingency Contracting at the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. During his service in Iraq, Lippart served as Chief of Plans and Programs Contracting Headquarters for Iraq and Afghanistan.

Colonel Lippart has received numerous medals including the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorius Service Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Army Commendation Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Medal, Meritorius Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Iraqi Freedom Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrrorism Expeditionary Medal, Korean Defense Service Medal, and Humanitarian Service Medal, among others.

DHS Announces Grant Award For Dowelltown Fire Truck

November 13, 2006
Dwayne Page

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the United States Fire Administration have announced that Dowelltown has been awarded a $164,650.00 grant from the 2006 Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

The award will be used to purchase a Class A Pumper and all the necessary equipment. The grant is funded 95% federally or $156,418 with a 5% local match or $8,232.

The new fire truck, when delivered, will be stationed on King Ridge Road at Dowelltown.

The Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program is designed as an opportunity for the United States Congress to work with DHS to enhance basic fire service delivery across the United States. $485 million will be awarded for fiscal year 2006 to nearly 5,000 fire-related organizations nationwide.

DeKalb Report Card Shows K-8 Students Overall Meeting State Goals

November 13, 2006
Dwayne Page

The 2006 Report Card on the DeKalb County School System, issued by the Tennessee Department of Education, reveals that overall students in grades K through 8 are meeting or exceeding state goals while students in grades 9-12 are still working toward their goals.

Carol Hendrix, Supervisor of Instruction for the DeKalb County School System says the school system's annual report looks really good this year. \"It's reported in two areas, Academic and Non-Academic. In the Non-Academic areas in both grades K-8 and 9-12 we exceeded all state goals in attendance and promotion. Our 9-12 grade indicator graduation rate is currently under revision and we'll find out about that a little later on.\"

Hendrix says in grades K-8, Academic Achievement is reported in two areas, Student Achievement and TVAS Value Added Scores. \"In Student Achievement, grades K-8, which demonstrates what our students have learned from Kindergarten to the present, we have an \"A\" in Math and a \"B\" in Reading/ Language, Social Studies, and Science, which are all above state levels. They are also all above our 2005 scores.\"

\"In TVAS Value Added, which calculates how much a student has learned in one year, in grades K-8, we have three \"A's\" and one \"B\". We have an \"A\" in Reading/Language, Science, and Social Studies, and a \"B\" in Math.\"

\"In our Writing scores, two grades are reported and both have an \"A\".

\"In grades 9-12, we have Proficiency levels and Value Added scores. In grades 9-12, our students met Proficiency levels in Algebra I, Biology I, English II in Gateway and English I, U.S. History, and Math Foundations as End of Course.\"

Concerning the 9-12 grade Value Added Scores, Hendrix says \" Our students met Proficiency in Algebra I, Math Foundations and English I but we were below levels in Biology I and English II.\"

\"Our Writing Assessment at the high school is at a \"B\" this year.\"

A.C.T. scores were below levels in English, Math, and Science Reasoning but students met the predicted score in Reading.

Hendrix says \"The goal of the federal government, the state department of education, and our school system is to ensure that all students are proficient academically. The DeKalb County School System is not only moving toward that goal, we consistently exceed expectations in grades K-8 and are working diligently toward meeting the mandates in grades 9-12.\"

She says \"This year's report card demonstrates the dedication of our students, teachers, parents, and the hard work of the principals and other administrators in ensuring that our students are being taught the necessary skills and objectives to meet not only the mandated proficiency but to ensure that our students leave the DeKalb County School System with the skills to go to higher education or to enter the work force.\"

Smithville Police Arrest Two In Identity Theft Case

November 17, 2006
Dwayne Page

Officers and Detectives of the Smithville Police Department have arrested two individuals involved in a complex scheme using identity theft, burglary, drugs, stolen checks, and multiple ID's to defraud merchants out of thousands of dollars in merchandise and stolen property throughout Middle Tennessee.

In a prepared news release, Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano, says \"After receiving a tip from an off-duty police officer, Smithville officers responded to Advanced Auto Parts on South Congress Boulevard and after a short investigation arrested Merel Aaron Degroat of 9740 Old Kentucky Road in Sparta and Anissa Renee Adams of 622 C. Poplar Street in Monterey and booked them into the DeKalb County Jail on drug charges and passing a bad check.\"

Stufano says \" With intensive followup by investigators the next day, it was discovered that the checks were reported stolen during the commission of a burglary in Hamilton County. After comparing investigative notes on area identity theft cases, Smithville Police Detectives formed a Task Force which included Alexandria Police, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, Putnam County Sheriff's Department, McMinnville Police, Monterey Police, and Baxter Police and through cooperative efforts were able to track the extensive trail of stolen checks and illegal identities used throughout Middle Tennessee. The use of these fraudulent identities helped purchase thousands of dollars of product including jewelry, clothes, beauty products, auto parts, and large quantities of food.\"

According to Chief Stufano, \"The couple would routinely strike up conversations with the store checkout clerks in an attempt to sway them away from validating the ID. On many occasions, the clerks were advised that the items purchased were being donated to various charities. The investigation showed that the couple was using the stolen products to trade for drugs throughout the area.\"

\"In a combined search of the defendant's home and vehicle, Detectives recovered thousands of dollars worth of merchandise, most with the tags still on them, along with a cache of drugs. Due to the diligent effort of the Smithville Investigators, all of the merchandise purchased from Smithville merchants was recovered and will be returned to them.\"

Degroat is also charged with facilitation of a felony and violation of parole. He remains in jail under a $100,000 bond.

Adams is also charged with four counts of forgery, possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of drugs. Her bond is $55,000. The vehicle used in the illegal operation was seized by the Smithville Police Department under the State's Forfeiture Act.

Chief Stufano says \"The city's new Crime Watch Program, which began earlier this month, touts the increase of Identity Theft and how citizens and merchants can protect themselves from these types of cases.\"

\"Identity theft is becoming more sophisticated and the number of new victims is growing. In general, consumers are protected against liability for unauthorized accounts or transactions under federal and state law and by financial industry practices. However, innocent victims of identity theft sometimes do suffer losses. And if the crime is not detected early, people may face months or years cleaning up the damage to their reputation and credit rating, and sometimes they lose out on loans, jobs and other opportunities in the meantime.\"

Chief Stufano says \"The Smithville Police Department is committed to aggressively investigating these types of crimes and asks our citizens to please contact the Police Department if you feel you have been a victim or have information about these crimes.\"

Woman Wanted For Passing Forged Checks Arrested In Gallatin

November 18, 2006
Dwayne Page

A White County woman , wanted by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department for allegedly passing forged checks in the names of a Temperance Hall couple, is now in custody.

40 year old Lisa Kylene Frasier and her husband, 41 year old Larry Frasier of Luna Road, Sparta were arrested Friday at a motel in Gallatin.

Gallatin Police made the arrests.

Ms. Frasier has been charged by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department with aggravated burglary, and theft of property and will be charged with forgery. Her bond is currently set at $15,000.

No local charges have been filed so far against Larry Frasier.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says someone recently burglarized the residence of Kenneth and Nadene Carter at Temperance Hall and stole two boxes personal checks from Regions Bank and the Bank of Putnam County in the names of the Carters.

Sheriff Ray says Frasier is also a suspect in a similar case in Wilson County.

These checks have been passed in DeKalb, Sumner, Wilson, White, Jackson, Putnam, Smith, Coffee and Warren Counties.

Sheriff Ray says Frasier used a fake drivers license to pass the checks, that has her own picture, and the actual license number of Nadene Carter.

During the course of the investigation, Sheriff Ray says the local department suspected that the Frasiers might be in the Gallatin area since some of the stolen checks were being passed there.

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office made contact with Gallatin Police and the joint investigation between the two departments led to the arrests of the Frasiers.

Gallatin Police spotted the Frasier's Pontiac parked at a motel in the area on Friday. Police converged and made the arrests without incident.

The Frasier's, currently in custody in Gallatin, will soon be returned to DeKalb County.

Routine Traffic Stop Leads To Drug Charges Against Two People

November 18, 2006
Dwayne Page

Two people were arrested on drug charges Friday after a traffic stop in Alexandria by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 35 year old Chad Knowles of the Loop and 36 year old Vickie Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road are charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance (dilaudid) with intent to sell and possession of a schedule IV controlled substance (valium).

According to Sheriff Ray, the two were pulled over in their vehicle on Highway 70 in Alexandria by county deputies. Upon further investigation, the officers found 47 K-4 dilaudid and 2 valiums in a hidden compartment of a Dr. Pepper soft drink can.

Bond for Cantrell is $53,500 and $78,500 for Knowles.

Knowles' bond is higher than Cantrell's because this offense occurred while he was free on bond in another case. Sheriff Ray says Knowles was arrested on November 10th on charges of felony evading arrest with a motor vehicle and driving on a revoked license (6th offense).

Five Sentenced In DeKalb County Criminal Court

November 21, 2006
Dwayne Page

Five defendants were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday after entering guilty pleas under negotiated settlements.

The presiding judge was Leon Burns, Jr.

20 year old Danny Hugh Kennedy III pleaded guilty to simple possession and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended. He will be on supervised probation for six months and unsupervised probation for six months if all fines, fees, and costs are paid. He must perform 25 hours of community service work and undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

22 year old Melody K. Mencer pleaded guilty to possession of drug paraphernalia and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended. She was fined $150. The case is to run concurrently with a criminal court case against her in Warren County.

29 year old Walter Ray Pedigo pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance. He received a three year sentence all suspended to DOC probation. The fine was waived.

53 year old Julie Murphy pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance, sale of a counterfeit controlled substance, and two counts of sale of a schedule III controlled substance. All the sentences are to run concurrently for a total of four years but she was given credit for time served and will be on supervised probation for the remainder of her term. All fines were waived in the case but she must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow the prescribed treatments.

60 year old James Edward Murphy pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and two counts of sale of a schedule III controlled substance. All the sentences are to run concurrently for a total of four years, all suspended to one year of probation supervised by community corrections and the remaining three years on DOC probation.. All fined were waived in the case and he was given credit for time served.

Smithville Police Make Arrest In Burglary At Brookview Apartments

November 21, 2006
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department has apparently solved a burglary at Brookview Apartments on Walker Drive with the arrest of a 39 year old man.

Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says James Nathaniel McKissack, a resident of Brookview Apartments, has been charged with aggravated burglary and resisting arrest. His bond is set at $3,500.

In a prepared news release, Chief Stufano says \"On Sunday night, Smithville Police Officers responded to Brookview Apartments at 740 Walker Drive to a reported burglary. After a short investigation with both the victim and witnesses, it was determined that the suspect, McKissack, lived in a neighboring apartment. A computer check also showed that the subject was wanted for a violation of probation warrant.\"

\"Additional officers and Sheriff's deputies responded to the apartment complex as the suspect was holdup in his apartment. Officers hearing noises coming from the apartment made repeated attempts for someone to come to the door. After a relay of phone calls between the occupants of that apartment and other neighbors, four individuals came out to speak to officers. It was ascertained that McKissack was not coming out. Officers tried to establish communications with McKissack for over 15 minutes before finally contacting him hiding in a back bedroom.\"

\"Further investigation at the scene disclosed that McKissack had pried open the front door to the burglarized apartment earlier in the day and entered, stealing cash and prescription drugs. Detectives were able to establish that witnesses saw McKissack coming out of the residence while the occupants were away. Eventually, the residents were notified shortly after their return home that evening.\"

\"Smithville Police are investigating a number of similar burglaries in the same area and are asking anyone with information to contact Sergeant Steve Deffendoll at 597-8211.\"

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department is committed to investigating all crimes within the city limits and asks for citizens support. \"Neighborhood Crime Watch works and thanks to our growing network of Neighborhood Crime Watchers we are making a difference.\"

Smithville Police Charge McKissack With Three More Burglaries

November 23, 2006
Dwayne Page

A 39 year old Smithville man, already charged with a burglary of one residence at Brookview Apartments, has now been charged with the burglary of three others there.

Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano says James Nathaniel McKissack, a resident of Brookview Apartments, was charged on Sunday with aggravated burglary and resisting arrest. \"On November 19th, Smithville Police arrested MsKissack of 740 Walker Drive for his participation in a burglary of a neighbor's apartment located at Brookview Apartments.\"

\"Detectives who had been working the case have now discovered that McKissack had also broken into three other neighbors apartments and stole a wide array of items including a laptop, pot and pans, sneakers, boxes of candy that are sold by school children, jewelry, cleaning supplies, makeup and video games. In one instance, the neighbors had been away and were unaware of the break-in and theft to their residence until police officers showed up with their property. All of the stolen items were eventually recovered in McKissack's apartment.\"

Additional charges of burglary were placed against McKissack at the DeKalb County Jail with bond set at $58,500.

Chief Stufano says \"this is another case where citizen cooperation has afforded the Police Department with valuable information which helped resolve crime in our city.\"

Citizen Tip Leads To Arrests Of Two Men On Drug Charges

November 24, 2006
Dwayne Page

A tip from a concerned citizen to the Smithville Police Department led to the arrest of two men on drug charges Wednesday night.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Jimmy Brown Martin of 2454 Hurricane Ridge Road is charged with simple possession of marijuana and Billy Joe Griffith of 9659 Short Mountain Highway is charged with possession of a schedule IV drug and sale and delivery of marijuana.

Bond for Martin is $1,500 and Griffith is under a $5,000 bond.

Chief Stufano says \"On Wednesday night at approximately 8:00 p.m., Smithville Police responded to the MAPCO gas station at Highway 56 and Highway 70 to investigate a reported suspicious incident in the parking lot.\"

\"A concerned citizen had called relaying that the occupants of two vehicles were acting suspiciously and possibly selling narcotics. Officers responded, locating the vehicles and subjects, and after a short investigation arrested the two men.\"

\"During the investigation officers found three bags of marijuana totaling approximately 24.4 grams in Griffith's vehicle. In addition to Griffith's arrest, his vehicle was seized under the State's Drug Forfeiture Act.\"

\"Martin was arrested after officers found a bag of marijuana hidden on his person.\"

Chief Stufano says \"Smithville Police appreciate the overwhelming response our citizens have shown in contacting us about suspicious persons or incidents. Our police officers are committed to actively investigating all criminal concerns within the city limits and want you to know that our residents safety and security is our number one priority.\"


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