Local News Articles

Patrick Ray Elected DeKalb County Sheriff

August 3, 2006
Dwayne Page

The next Sheriff of DeKalb County will be Patrick Ray.

Ray, a Republican, defeated Democratic nominee Myron Rhody in Thursday's DeKalb County General Election by a final count of 2,584 (54%) to 2,159 (45%), a difference of 425 votes.

Ray carried eleven of the sixteen precincts in DeKalb County including Alexandria- 175 to 108, Temperance Hall- 64 to 54, Edgar Evins State Park- 15 to 12, Liberty- 119 to 49, Dowelltown 76 to 54, Cherry Hill- 30 to 11, Courthouse -134 to 131, Johnson's Chapel- 89 to 33, Elementary School- 128 to 123, Blue Springs- 89 to 74, Church of Christ Annex- 163 to 137, and Early Voting- 1,053 to 846. Ray had 43 absentees.

Rhody carried five precincts including Snow Hill- 88 to 82, Middle School 192 to 162, Rock Castle 23 to 22, Belk 75 to 70, and Keltonburg 86 to 70. Rhody had 63 absentees.

Ray, a Chief Deputy under the administration of former Sheriff Kenneth Pack, will succeed incumbent Sheriff Lloyd Emmons on September 1st. Ray currently works for the Warren County Sheriff's Department.

District Returns Give Patterson Six Vote Edge Over Sells In Judge Race

August 4, 2006
Dwayne Page

Uncertified election returns from all seven counties in the 13th Judicial District show that David Patterson has edged Incumbent Criminal Court Judge Lillie Ann Sells by six votes out of over 40,000 votes cast district wide.

Totals show Patterson with 20,102 votes and Sells has 20,096.

The following are the uncertified results from each county as provided to WJLE Friday morning by each county election commission

DeKalb: Sells- 1,822, Patterson- 1,234
Putnam: Patterson- 7,608, Sells- 4,152
Overton: Sells- 2,791, Patterson- 2,213
White: Sells- 3,465, Patterson- 2,436
Clay: Sells -1,216, Patterson- 749
Pickett: Sells- 1,346, Patterson 867
Cumberland: Sells- 5,304, Patterson- 4,995.

Thurman Elected Chancellor In 13th Judicial District

August 4, 2006
Dwayne Page

Democrat Ron Thurman carried five of the seven counties in the 13th Judicial District Thursday and defeated Republican Jerry Burgess in the race for Chancellor, succeeding the retiring Vernon Neal.

Thurman received a total of 20,922 votes to 13,373 votes for Burgess.

Thurman carried DeKalb County 1,388 to 976; White County 3,276 to 1,954; Putnam County 7,552 to 3,422; Clay County 439 to 290; and Overton County 3,024 to 1,109.

Burgess carried Cumberland County 4,693 to 4,370 and Pickett County 929 to 873.

Johnson Gets Life Prison Sentence In First Degree Murder Case

August 7, 2006
Dwayne Page

33 year old Michael E. Johnson of Sparta, charged in the fatal shooting of another Sparta man in January, appeared in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday and entered a guilty plea to first degree murder. Judge Leon Burns,Jr. gave him a life prison sentence under a negotiated settlement with state prosecutors.

Johnson appeared before Judge Lillie Ann Sells last month to enter the plea, but when she learned that Johnson had previously been treated for a mental condition and was no longer under a doctor's care or taking medication, she refused to accept a plea and instead ordered Johnson to undergo a mental evaluation at Plateau Mental Health Center in Cookeville to determine his competency to stand trial or enter a plea in the case.

Johnson underwent the evaluation later and was found to be competent.

Johnson and a co-defendant, 26 year old Tina Rose Bain, were each indicted by a DeKalb County Grand Jury in April on charges of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, felony murder, and theft over $1,000.

Under the agreement, the other three counts against Johnson were dismissed upon his plea to the first degree murder charge.

Johnson and Bain were charged in the shooting death of 21 year old David Anthony Welch of Sparta and the wounding of 23 year old Heather Trapp of Smithville. Both Welch and Trapp were shot at Trapp's home during the pre-dawn hours of January 6th on Webb Lane.

The indictments allege that the defendants did unlawfully, intentionally and with premeditation kill Welch during the perpetration of or an attempt to perpetrate theft and that they unlawfully and knowingly obtained or exercised control over property including, but not limited to, a necklace and ring valued at over $1,000 belonging to Trapp.

After the shooting, Johnson and Bain left the scene in their car but were arrested later that day in White County. They were brought to the DeKalb County Jail and after several hours of questioning, were charged in the shooting. Their car was also impounded.

Bain's case is still pending in court.

Johnson is represented by attorney J. Hilton Conger. John Pryor is Bain's lawyer

Grand Jury Returns Indictments Against Thirty Eight

August 17, 2006
Dwayne Page

A total of thirty eight people were indicted by the DeKalb County Grand Jury Monday including seven named in sealed indictments.

Those indicted will appear for arraignment in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday, August 21st at 9:00 a.m.

Those indicted and their charges are as follows:

Ruthie J. Shoemake- prescription Fraud

Bradley Kent Colter- driving while revoked (6th offense)

Clinton Jerome Maples- worthless check (3 counts)

Terry Wayne Knowles- Two charges of driving while revoked (9th offense)

Sonny Gene Smith-criminal trespassing

Samuel Wade Walker- theft over $10,000, burglary (2 counts), sale of a schedule II controlled substance and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance

Gary E. Woodard- driving while revoked (6th offense)

Terry Brandon Maynard-prescription fraud

Kathy Ann Taylor-reckless endangerment and violation of the implied consent law

Anna Lou Adams- possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery and possession of paraphernalia

Ana Soto- no drivers license and violation of the financial responsibility law

Natasha A. Helms- reckless endangerment and possession of paraphernalia

Aubrey L. Kilgore- driving under the influence (3rd offense) and violation of the open container law

Harold Bain- driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and reckless endangerment

Elizabeth Ann Chalfant- driving while suspended

Sammy Gene Taylor and Royce Avon Foster- burglary, possession of burglary tools, and evading arrest (2 counts)

Azucena Abraham- speeding 65/45, violation of the financial responsibility law, violation of the seat belt law, and no drivers license

Robert Ernest Rochefort- evading arrest with a motor vehicle, simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance, simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance, and driving while revoked.

Daniel Lloyd Billings- driving under the influence (2nd offense), violation of the implied consent law, possession of paraphernalia, violation of the financial responsibility law, and violation of the seat belt law.

Brian B. Roberts- domestic assault, evading arrest, and resisting arrest

Terry Layne Pedigo- driving under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, and resisting arrest

Martin Riley- possession of drug paraphernalia

Marilyn Elaine Strayn- possession of paraphernalia and theft under $500

Jackie Eston Trapp- violation of an order of protection and vandalism over $1,000

Sonny Gene Smith and Perry Alton Stembridge- theft over $500

Edward Lynn Taylor- driving while revoked (3rd offense)

Clinton Jerome Maples- worthless check (2 counts)

Jacqueline E. Schultz- driving while suspended

Blake Ardell Richardson- illegal consumption of alcohol

Kevin Dewayne Eldridge- aggravated assault

Audrey Kay Ledbetter- simple possession of a schedule II and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.

Judge Sells To Contest Election

August 7, 2006
Dwayne Page

It appears Criminal Court Judge Lillie Ann Sells, the apparent loser in her re-election bid last Thursday, is not going down without a fight...a court fight!

The Herald-Citizen of Cookeville is reporting that Judge Sells has confirmed that she is planning to file a lawsuit contesting the results of the election.

Final totals district-wide gave her opponent David A. Patterson, an Independent candidate, nine more votes than she received out of more than 40,000 votes cast.

After the votes were counted district wide on Thursday night, Patterson had a six vote lead over Sells, 20,102 to 20,096 but on Friday when the \"provisional\" ballots were examined in the counties that had them, Patterson had picked up four more votes to one additional vote for Sells increasing Patterson's lead to nine votes.

The count, apparently as it stands now, is 20,106 for Patterson and 20,097 for Sells

Patterson currently serves as an Assistant District Attorney in the Office of Attorney General William A. \" Bill\" Gibson of Cookeville.

According to the Herald Citizen report, Judge Sells said Monday that \"she is working with a Nashville attorney in planning a suit seeking a review of the election results. Such a review could result in a recount of the votes.\"

The report says \"State law allows for a court filing to contest election results, and that would be filed in Chancery Court and reportedly would have to allege some specific reason for seeking a recount.\"

City Board Votes To Remove Three Speed Humps On West Main Street

August 7, 2006
Dwayne Page

The three speed humps on West Main Street between Juniper Lane and the four way stop at North Mountain Street will soon be gone.

The Smithville Board of Aldermen Monday night voted to remove them, apparently bowing to public pressure.

Aldermen Stephen White, W.J. \"Dub\" White, and Cecil Burger voted for the removal of the speed humps. Aldermen Paul Young and Aaron Meeks \"passed\" when their names were called to vote on the issue.

The city board, earlier this year at the request of several residents in the area, voted to install the speed humps as a pilot project, but since they were put down most of the aldermen say they have heard nothing but complaints from the public, who often travel the street going to and from the downtown business district.

Residents in the neighborhood, including Bert Driver, Ruth Johns, and others, told the Mayor and Aldermen Monday night that the speed humps have been very effective in slowing traffic on a street where speeding has been a problem and the posted speed limit is 15 miles per hour. They asked that the speed humps not be removed.

Two Smithville residents, who don't live on West Main Street, but who own property in town, expressed opposing views on the issue during the meeting Monday night.

William McKinley Jones spoke out against the speed humps, but former Smithville Mayor Waniford Cantrell said he thought the speed humps should be kept there and asked that another one be installed on the east side of the West Main Street bridge.

Mary McCoy presented a petition to the Aldermen, signed by several residents in the Smith Road area, asking that speed humps be installed on their street because of the speeding problem on that narrow and winding road.

However rather than put down more speed humps, city officials are searching for alternative solutions and Monday night Smithville Police Chief Gus Clemente and the department's new Public Information Officer Tom Stufano pledged a stepped up enforcement campaign on streets with the most problems with speeding.

Yet some question how effective the extra patrols can be with only two to three officers on duty per shift.

TBI Arrests Former Sheriff's Deputy For Rape

August 9, 2006
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested a former Dekalb County Sheriff?s deputy on a host of charges including rape.

David Stanley Sharp was charged Monday by the DeKalb County Grand Jury, in sealed indictments, on two counts of rape, two counts of official misconduct, one count of sexual battery and one count of official oppression.

The TBI began investigating Sharp in June after two women came forward complaining that he had pulled them over and demanded sexual favors. Sharp has posted a $10,000 bond.

Fire Damages Center Hill Village Apartments

August 10, 2006
Dwayne Page

A fire Wednesday night destroyed one apartment and damaged others at Center Hill Village Apartments on South College Street.

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker says neighbors heard a smoke alarm and saw fire coming from apartments in the \"C\" building.

Firefighters were alerted around 6:30 p.m.

Chief Parker says the apartment of Molly Johnson on the first floor was destroyed in the blaze. She was not at home at the time of the fire and was not injured.

The fire spread to the second floor apartment of Brandon Smith, causing some damage. Smith was also not home at the time of the fire and was not hurt.

Another vacant second floor apartment was heavily damaged by the fire, and another vacant first floor apartment received some smoke and water damage.

Residents in three apartments across the hall from the apartment fires were safely evacuated from the building.

The cause of the blaze is undetermined.

School Board Authorizes Sick Leave Bank

August 10, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night authorized the implementation of a Sick Leave Bank to provide certified employees of the school system extended sick leave benefits to cover catastrophic illnesses.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says he will request a waiver from the State Education Commissioner to start the program this school year, since by law it must be in place by August 1st.

The Sick Leave Bank does not include support staff, but based upon further research, a local policy could be adopted in the future to include non-certified personnel.

The request for the Sick Leave Bank was presented to the board Thursday night by John Isabell, President of the DeKalb County Education Association. \"Last week, some teachers approached me about finding out how we might be able to establish a Sick Leave Bank for teachers. Some of them also contacted Mr. Willoughby and we both have since been researching how one would go about it. Apparently according to Tennessee law, in order to have a Sick Leave Bank, you have to have twenty teachers request it. We have probably over 100 teachers that have requested it.\"

\"A Sick Leave Bank serves the purpose of allowing teachers to contribute some of their stored up sick leave days into a pool that would allow teachers who are experiencing a catastrophic event, such as a sickness in the family or sickness to themselves, who have exhausted their own sick leave, the ability to go into that pool and use some of those days.\"

According to research compiled by Materials Supervisor Larry Johnson, the Sick Leave Bank is a voluntary statewide program for certified employees of Tennessee Public Schools, established by state law. Members donate earned sick leave to the bank (possible 3 days) and are then eligible to supplement normal paid sick leave if diagnosed or an immediate family member is diagnosed with a serious or catastrophic illness.

Certified employees may enroll from August 1st through October 31st. Enrollment forms must be received in the DBE office prior to the enrollment deadline or membership must wait until the next enrollment period.

New employees beginning after October 31st will have 30 days to enroll. Three days will be deducted from the employees total sick days available.

The Sick Leave Bank, if necessary to sustain the program, may request additional donations of sick leave days.

A participant shall not receive any sick leave from the Bank until after having exhausted all accumulated sick, personal, and or annual leave including all paid extensions.

The member must be off the payroll for six consecutive workdays prior to receiving benefits.

Members must submit an application to the Sick Leave Bank Trustees for review. Medical documentation must accompany the application.

The employee will be notified in writing the status of the application.

Days are awarded 20 at a time for up to 60 days the first year with a total of 90 days in two years.

An application for benefits must be submitted for every 20 days of use.

According to state law, the Sick Leave Bank Trustees must include the Director of Schools (chair), two school board members, and two LEA appointees.

In other business, Director Willoughby presented his monthly written report on personnel.

Those employed for the 2006-2007 school year since last month include:

Kristi Sullivan- Educational Assistant at DeKalb West School; Beverly Starnes- part time cafeteria worker; Christie Bates- cafeteria worker; Michael Littrell- Art teacher at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School; Pamela Fults- Chorus Teacher at DeKalb County High School; Ray Robinson- Custodian at DCHS; Rebecca Oliver- half time ESL Teacher; James Ryan Smith- Assistant DeKalb Middle School Football Coach; Eric Drennan- Assistant DeKalb Middle School Football Coach; Pam Eldridge- Deaf Interpreter; Karen Elmore-teacher at Smithville Elementary School Pre-K; and Pamela Fults- Chorus at DCHS.

Those transferred include:

Jamie Vickers- transferred to Central Office Secretary; Teresa Miller- transferred to General Purpose Payroll/Bookkeeper; Kristy Lasser-transferred to Teacher position at Northside Elementary School; Jalene Vanatta-transferred to Secretary at DeKalb West School; Betty Cooper-transferred to Cafeteria Manager.


Gabina Alfaro- ESL Educational Assistant; Jonathon Carter-Art Teacher at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School; and Jamie Vickers- Assistant Basketball Coach at DeKalb West School and Substitute Bus Driver.

Leave of Absence: Tad Webb, teacher at Northside Elementary School, leave as requested.

Board Chairman Johnny Lattimore, on behalf of the school board, expressed appreciation to Fourth District member Keith Garrett whose term expires August 31st. \"We have truly appreciated Keith over the last four years. Sometimes I don't know what we would have done around here without him, especially with his expertise on the budget. He kept us in line on that and has been a great help. But he's done more than that, he's been a good board member.\"

Director Willoughby presented Garrett a plaque for his dedicated service to the board and school system.

Garrett wished his fellow board members, including his successor Joan Draper, Director Willoughby, teachers, principals, and all the school employees the best.


Follow Us


News Feed

WJLE Radio

2606 McMinnville Hwy
Smithville, TN 37166

Phone: 615 597-4265
FAX: 615 597-6025
Email: wjle@dtccom.net

Local News

6:30 A.M.
7:30 A.M.
8:55 A.M.
12:00 NOON
4:00 P.M.
9:45 P.M.

DTC Communications

Fiddlers Jamboree