Local News Articles

Three Incumbent School Board members Swept out of Office

August 7, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Jerry Wayne Johnson
Jim Beshearse
Emitt Shaun Tubbs
Danny Parkerson
Billy Miller

Three of the incumbent school board members lost their bids for new terms in the election Thursday.

In the second district, Jerry Wayne Johnson defeated Incumbent Charles Robinson 345 votes (54.94%) to 283 votes (45.06%). Johnson led in early votes/absentees 152 to 97 and he carried Dowelltown 69 to 57 and Snow Hill 63 to 51. Robinson carried Liberty 78 to 61

Third district Incumbent Kenny Rhody lost to James W. (Jim) Beshearse, II 273 (43.20%) to 205 votes (32.44%). A third candidate in the race, Johnathon Willoughby received 153 votes (24.21%) Beshearse had more early votes/absentees than his opponents and he carried the Church of God precinct. The results are as follows: Early votes absentees: Beshearse 198, Rhody 141, Willoughby 105. Church of God precinct: Beshearse 75, Rhody 64, and Willoughby 48.

In the Seventh District, Emitt Shaun Tubbs easily unseated Incumbent Johnny Lattimore 293 (59.19%) to 108 (21.82%). Brandon Joe Cox came in third place with 94 votes (18.99%) Tubbs had more absentees/early votes than his opponents and he won the Church of Christ Annex precinct. The results are as follows: Early votes/absentees: Tubbs 176, Lattimore 68, Cox 50. Church of Christ Annex: Tubbs 117, Cox 44, Lattimore 40.

Meanwhile, Robert D. (Danny) Parkerson, Jr. will be succeeding Incumbent John David Foutch as a member of the school board from the first district. Parkerson defeated Matthew Boss 351 votes (65.98%) to 181 votes (34.02%). Foutch chose not to seek another term. Parkerson carried all three precincts and had more early votes/absentees than Boss. The results are as follows: Early votes/absentees: Parkerson 109, Boss 51. Alexandria: Parkerson 191, Boss 94. Edgar Evins State Park: Parkerson 9, Boss 6; and Temperance Hall: Parkerson 42, Boss 30

In the fourth district, Incumbent Billy Miller was re-elected to a second term on the school board without opposition. Miller received 596 votes.

The new school board will be made up of Danny Parkerson in the first district, Jerry Wayne Johnson in the second district, Jim Beshearse in the third district, Billy Miller in the fourth district, W.J. (Dub) Evins, III in the fifth district, Doug Stephens in the sixth district, and Emitt Shaun Tubbs in the seventh district.

Agee, Stribling, Cook, and Ray All Win

August 7, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Road Supervisor-Elect Wallace Butch Agee
County Mayor-Elect Tim Stribling
General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten H. (Butch) Cook, II
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Wallace (Butch) Agee will be the next Road Supervisor of DeKalb County.

Agee, a Republican, won a close race against his Democratic opponent James D. (Jimmy) Sprague Thursday to capture the seat held for the last 24 years by Republican Kenny Edge, who chose not to seek re-election to a seventh term.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW ELECTION BOXES)

http://www.wjle.com/results/

Agee received 2,403 votes (52.01%) to 2,215 (47.94%) for Sprague, a difference of 188 votes. Agee carried ten precincts including Alexandria, Cherry Hill, Dowelltown, Edgar Evins State Park, Johnson's Chapel, Keltonburg, Liberty, Rock Castle, the Church of God, and Temperance Hall. Sprague carried six precincts including Belk, Blue Springs, the Church of Christ Annex, the County Complex, Courthouse, and Snow Hill. Sprague also had slightly more early votes/absentees than Agee.

Tim Stribling knocked off two challengers to become the next County Mayor. The Democratic nominee received 2,575 votes(56.14%). Republican Chris Smithson garnered 1,580 (34.45%), and Independent Chris Bratcher had 428 votes (9.33%). Stribling carried ten precincts including Alexandria, Belk, Blue Springs, Church of Christ Annex, County Complex, Courthouse, Keltonburg, Church of God, Snow Hill, and Temperance Hall. Stribling also had more early votes/absentees than his opponents. Smithson carried six precincts including Cherry Hill, Dowelltown, Edgar Evins State Park, Johnson's Chapel, Liberty, and Rock Castle.

Meanwhile, Democratic Incumbent General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge Bratten H. (Butch) Cook, II held off a strong challenge by his Republican opponent Mingy Colwell Bryant to win a third eight year term. Cook defeated Bryant 2,531 (54.75%) to 2,089 (45.19%), a margin of 442 votes. Cook had more early votes/absentees than Bryant and he carried eight precincts including Alexandria, Church of Christ Annex, County Complex, Courthouse, Dowelltown, Edgar Evins State Park, Keltonburg, and the Church of God. Bryant also carried eight precincts including Belk, Blue Springs, Cherry Hill, Johnson's Chapel, Liberty, Rock Castle, Snow Hill, and Temperance Hall.

Sheriff Patrick Ray cruised to a third term. The Republican incumbent defeated Democratic challenger Larry Flair 3,304 (69.14%) to 1,475 (30.86%). Ray carried all sixteen precincts and had more early votes/absentees than Flair.

Others who ran unopposed for county wide races and their totals were Circuit Court Clerk Katherine Pack, who led the ticket with 3,828 votes; Trustee Sean Driver with 3,698; County Clerk-elect James L. (Jimmy) Poss with 3,646; and Register of Deeds Jeff McMillen with 3,647 votes.

Adams Charged with Attempted Second Degree Murder in Tuesday Shooting

August 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lt. Detective Matt Holmes and Detective Brandon Donnell with Jordan Adams
Jordan Adams
Jamie Murphy

An altercation between two men Tuesday left one of them shot twice and the other charged with pulling the trigger.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger said 28 year old Jordan Adams of Smithville has been charged with attempted second degree murder in the shooting of 39 year old Jamie Murphy. The incident occurred on Juniper Lane. Adams is also charged with unlawful possession of a weapon as a convicted felon and reckless endangerment. His bond is $290,000.

According to the arrest warrants, Murphy was shot once in the back shoulder and by another bullet which grazed his arm. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment of his wounds.

Murphy was reportedly behind the wheel of a pickup truck and trying to get out through the passenger side when Adams, who was standing outside the truck, allegedly fired rounds from a 25 caliber pistol, which struck Murphy. A male passenger in the truck with Murphy was not injured.

After the shooting, Adams allegedly got in a different pickup truck driven by another man and left the scene.

Lieutenant Detective Matt Holmes told WJLE that he received an outside tip about the shooting and spotted the fleeing vehicle on Broad Street. He followed as the truck turned onto Dry Creek Road and then into the driveway of a residence. Lieutenant Holmes said he pulled in behind the truck to make a high risk stop, got out of his patrol car and ordered the two occupants in the vehicle to get out. As Adams exited the vehicle and went down, Lieutenant Holmes said he saw a handgun fall to the ground. Adams was then placed under arrest.

The arrest warrants allege that "On August 5, Jordan Adams did shoot Jamie Murphy in the back as he attempted to flee his vehicle out of the passenger side door. Mr. Murphy was shot twice, once in the back shoulder and once as a bullet grazed his arm as he retreated. Mr. Adams left the scene and was located by Lt. Matt Holmes where he was found to be in possession of a .25 caliber handgun. Mr. Adams cannot possess a weapon due to being a convicted felon. Mr. Adams did fire multiple shots down the road where multiple people were outside and in or around the line of fire."

The case is being investigated by the Smithville Police Department

Three Bids Received on Construction of Solid Waste Transfer Station

August 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Road Department Cuts Access Road into Proposed Solid Waste Transfer Station

The county has received three bids from companies interested in building the proposed solid waste transfer station for household garbage.

County Mayor Mike Foster and members of the purchasing committee met Tuesday morning for a bid opening with Ronnie Reece of Professional Engineering Services from Sparta, who has been consulting local officials on the project.

The purchasing committee voted to award the contract to the company determined to have the best bid after the three proposals are given a more indepth review to make sure they meet all the bid specifications as advertised.

The county's new solid waste transfer station will be constructed on property in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east behind Tenneco Automotive. The Smithville Industrial Board recently deeded the land to the City of Smithville, who in turn, deeded it to the county for the transfer station. The work under the contract will include the construction of a 5,400 square foot pre-engineered metal building as a solid waste transfer station including a scale house building and office building; construction of an access road with erosion control measures; stripping of 8,900 cubic yard top soil; 7,500 cubic yard site excavation; 6,000 cubic yard borrow material; 6,500 tons of mineral aggregate base stone; and 3,175 tons of hot mix.

With the help of Road Supervisor Kenny Edge and his department, the county plans to do much of its own work building an access road extending from the Industrial Park past Tenneco Automotive into the transfer station. Such a move is expected to save the county money, whichever company is awarded the bid.

Each bidder included the expense of road construction and paving in their base bids as well as deductive alternates that cuts costs. " There are some deducts in there we are trying to work on to save money. The road work won't cover all the deducts but we can do the paving later about 50% cheaper under the county's (paving) contract than what they (bidders) had listed it for," said County Mayor Foster. "Kenny (Edge) has been good to take his equipment over there and help. He's cutting the grade on the four lane going in and moving the dirt so we can gravel it. By the county doing some of the road work ourselves, we could save maybe $150,000 or $200,000. If we're able to apply for and receive a fast track grant for the paving, we might save all of that (road work cost)," Foster added.

The three bidders and their base bid amounts for the transfer station project are as follows:

Elk Mountain Construction of Cookeville (base bid of $1,308,092) with a deductive alternate of $425,077 from the base bid for road work into the proposed facility.

Johnson Builders of Doyle (base bid of $1,387,930) with a deductive alternate of $513,949 for road work.

Sain Construction of Manchester (base bid of $1,744,059) with a deductive alternate of $421,760 for road work.

According to County Mayor Foster, the bids received are in line with what he expected the costs to be for construction of a transfer station. "It's about what we figured for the cost of the transfer station. About $800,000 plus the road. Talking to other counties (who have transfer stations), that's about what their costs have been," he said.

Foster added that converting the county's solid waste operation to a transfer station is expected to be less expensive than continuing to have its own Class I landfill. "If we did the cost of building another landfill, you're probably talking about two million dollars to do it. And when you close it, that's another one million dollars. This is the cheaper route," he said.

Once the bid is awarded, the contractor has 150 days to complete the project. Foster said he is hopeful that the transfer station is operational by December.

Meanwhile, the existing Class I landfill, located off Billings Road in the eastern portion of the county, will soon be full. "According to the engineering estimates, we probably have nine months left on it (existing landfill). But we'll still put some stuff in there (existing landfill) until we fill it. Then we'll do a Class III/IV cell for construction material," Foster said.

Blasting Expected to Cause Traffic Delays at Sligo Bridge

August 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

Blasting in the construction zone of the new Sligo bridge is expected to cause traffic delays this afternoon until possibly as late as 10 p.m. tonight (Tuesday).

WJLE has learned that while construction workers intend to keep one lane of traffic open, motorists could still experience delays of up to half an hour today.

Those motorists who can may want to take an alternate route. Every effort will be made to allow emergency vehicles easier access.

County to Acquire Property for New Fire Station

August 5, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The county is making plans to eventually establish a fire department station in the Four Seasons community.

County Mayor Mike Foster said the county commission last week voted to acquire property, a little more than an acre in size, near the intersection of Four Seasons Road and Young Green Road for the future home of the new fire station. Though the land is appraised at $13,000, Foster said the owner is selling it to the county for $4,000. And it is a better location for a fire station than property the county already owns at Pine Creek Saddle Club in that it will improve the ISO rating for more residents. "The county owns two or three acres where the Pine Creek Saddle Club is, but in order for people to get the benefit of it (better ISO Rating), it (fire station) must be a couple of miles on down the road. It's got to be within five miles of the majority of those houses for them to get the benefit of a better ISO rating. This property is about five miles to town and five miles to the boat dock," said Foster.

According to Foster, the Four Seasons community is perhaps the area of the county in the greatest need for a fire station. " As far as looking at the number of houses outside the five mile range of a fire station, that's probably the biggest area of the county. There are probably 300 houses down in there. Just at Four Seasons is 179 (houses). From there back to town, there's a lot of houses. So this (fire station) would help," said Foster.

While the owner is making the county a deal on the property, he is asking that the fire station have an attractive look that blends in with other structures in the community. " He asked that the facade be brick. He owns the subdivision there (nearby). He's going to take a deduction for a donation because it benefits his subdivision (to have a fire station closeby) but it also benefits everybody down there," Foster said.
There are no immediate plans to start construction. "It may be a little while in the future doing that," said Foster.

County Fire Chief Donny Green included a request for an additional fire station in his 2014-15 budget proposal for the fire department. In the request, Green wrote, "We have been meeting and discussing a proposal to build an additional fire station in the Four Seasons (Young Bend) area of the county. Our fire needs assessment shows that this is an area with many residences that are beyond the 5-road mile service area from any of our existing stations. Because of this distance, homeowners are charged much higher insurance premiums and fire and other related incident arrival times are significantly longer. Our last fire station construction project, in 2007, in the Austin Bottom community cost about $55,000," wrote Green.

The county currently has eleven fire stations.

DeKalb County Excels During 2014 Great American Cleanup in Tennessee

August 4, 2014
DeKalb County Excels During 2014 Great American Cleanup in Tennessee

DeKalb County has done a stellar job in leading their community to success during this year’s Great American Cleanup (GAC) in Tennessee.

DeKalb County, led by 2014 GAC Coordinator Suzanne Williams, collected 42,500 pounds of trash. A total of 200 volunteers contributed 600 hours.
“We are grateful that the state of Tennessee has volunteers that take ownership of their community, helping Keep Tennessee Beautiful achieve remarkable results each year during Keep America Beautiful’ s annual spring event, the Great American Cleanup,” said KTnB Executive Director Missy Marshall. “We look forward to cultivating our relationship with organizations in each county; as well as strive to help Tennessee become a cleaner and greener state.”

KTnB expects to have 100 percent county participation during this year’s GAC. So far we have received planning forms from each county in the state. The process of collecting the wrap-up reports is currently ongoing, as over 50 have been submitted.
The National Sponsors of the 2014 GAC are: Dow, The Glad Products Company, Lowe’s, Phillips 66, Troy-Bilt® Lawn and Garden Equipment, and Waste Management.

For more information on GAC, contact KTnB’s Stine Moss-Cooperwood at 901-678-4160, or visit www.keeptnbeautiful.org/get-involved.

Man Tries to Escape After being Arrested for Aggravated Assault

August 4, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michael Pierre Napier Rose
David Ray Johnson
Amanda Gail Maxwell
Sherry Kay Malone
Tonya Amber Marie Audas
Cynthia Gail Sorrell
Michael Andrew Snyders, Jr.

In his latest report on crime, Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 30 year old Michael Pierre Napier Rose of Capshaw Road is charged with aggravated assault, vandalism, and escape along with outstanding warrants for violation of General Sessions Court probation, violation of a check law (worthless check), and two counts of failure to appear. His bond totals $23,500 but he is being held without bond on the failure to appear warrants. He will be in court on August 28.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, August 3 Rose allegedly assaulted another man by pulling him off a horse and throwing him on the ground. Rose then pulled a knife, pointed it at the man and threatened to kill him, placing the victim in fear of his life. Rose was later taken into custody and transported to the sheriff's department. While enroute, Rose pulled the inside back door panel off the patrol car which broke the locks and windows. He then escaped from the back seat of the patrol car and tried to flee from custody but he was quickly apprehended.

51 year old David Ray Johnson of Old Blue Springs Road, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court August 25. He was arrested on Tuesday, July 29. Sheriff Ray said that on December 1, 2013 Johnson allegedly stole and then sold a yellow tilt trailer for $175.

30 year old Amanda Gail Maxwell of Fisher Avenue, Smithville and 35 year old Sherry Kay Malone of Commerce Street, Watertown are each charged with assaulting another woman. Bond for each is $5,000 and they will be in court August 14. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, July 30 during an altercation, Malone and Maxwell allegedly assaulted their victim by kicking her in the head. Malone also allegedly hit and punched the woman repeatedly about her body resulting in scratches on the victim's right arm.

30 year old Tonya Amber Marie Audas of Circle Drive, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court August 14. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, July 31 a sheriff's department detective was called to the Dollar General Store on a complaint of an intoxicated woman. Upon arrival he spoke with Audas as she was putting two young daughters in her vehicle. Audas appeared to have been on an intoxicant. Audas submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood test. According to Sheriff Ray, Audas admitted to having taken percocet, valium, adderall, and Klonopin. She was placed under arrest.

55 year old Cynthia Gail Sorrell of North Turner Drive, Sparta is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court August 14. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 2 a deputy was dispatched to a Lower Helton Road residence on an abduction . Upon arrival, the officer discovered that there had been no abduction. He spoke with Sorrell who said she and a friend had gotten into a dispute and that she was told to leave her friend's property. Sorrell said she couldn't leave because she had left her keys in her friend's home. Sorrell had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on her person and she was unsteady on her feet. She admitted to consuming alcohol and was placed under arrest.

29 year old Michael Andrew Snyders, Jr. of West Main Street, Smithville is charged with assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court August 14. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 2 Snyders allegedly assaulted another man by pushing him. Snyders and the victim then began hitting each other and went to the ground wrestling. Snyders was determined to have been the primary aggressor.

Smithville Senior Citizens Director Wanda Poss to Retire

August 4, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Wanda Poss

As she prepares to retire as executive director of the Smithville Senior Center, Wanda Poss says what she will miss most are the seniors whom she has gotten to know.

“The best part of this job has been helping people needing help.” said Poss, who will officially step down as director of the senior center August 31 after serving in that capacity for the past 17 years. “I have enjoyed being out there associating with the seniors, playing cards with them and organizing activities for their benefit. The seniors here are very important to me," she said in an interview Friday with WJLE.

Poss took on the job as director of the Smithville Senior Center in 1997 after working in the private sector. "I was working at Kingston Timer but my orthopedic surgeon took me off of repetitious work. I went home and stayed for a while but when I heard about this opportunity, I decided to put in for it," she said.

Over the years, Poss has seen more programs become available to help seniors live more productively. "The Silver Sneakers Fitness program has been a big help and has grown. We also have the HELP Program. The Rotary Club joined up with us several years ago to help us take food out at Christmas time. We deliver about 80-90 boxes at Christmas time. At times I have gone into homes and taken food when they (seniors) call," she said.

In addition to her daily duties as Senior Director and Coordinator of the HELP Program, Poss has helped organize other activities and events including community fund raising dances for the senior center as well as the annual Veteran's Day lunch. Last year, she said more than 200 were fed as a way of honoring local veterans.

A dream long held by Poss finally became a reality after the county bought the building now known as the complex and developed a new senior center there. " The existing city hall was built during the 1970s and they (senior citizens center) were there on the second floor. We were fortunate and blessed to have the city let us use the city hall for all those years. But when the county bought this building (complex) I went to County Mayor Mike Foster and asked to get the seniors (a new center) on the ground floor. He said "we'll try to". He did and it's a beautiful center and we're very proud of it," said Poss.

While she looks forward to retirement, Poss said she plans to remain active. "I'm going home and rest a while. I'll rest until September and that's when we'll leave on our Colorado trip", she said. Called Wanda's Traveling Friends, Poss will continue planning vacation trips for seniors and others who want to join her on visits to places around the world.

Poss said she wishes to thank all those who have supported the senior citizens program over the years including local businesses, the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department, UCDD, the City of Smithville including past and present mayors and aldermen, past and present county mayors and county commissioners, the Smithville Police Department and Sheriff's Department, the Smithville Rotary Club, DeKalb EMS, and the senior citizens.

Community Joins in Prayer for Our Schools

August 3, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Local Ministers Offer Prayers for Our Schools
Members of Community Join in Prayer for Our Schools
Annual Prayer for Our Schools Observance

Members of the community turned out Sunday afternoon to join in a special "Prayer Service for Schools" observance at the DeKalb County High School gym.

The prayer service has become an annual event conducted by local ministers offering prayers for each school as well as the students, teachers, transportation staff, and other employees. "It started out a long time ago with a group of teachers who got together on the Sunday before school started and prayed. Each year they invited more and more people. Somewhere along the line someone said we need to keep this thing going so we started organizing and getting the ministers involved. We try to get ministers from all across the county from different denominations because it's great when different denominations come together to praise God and pray. I truly believe God blesses those efforts," said local minister Larry Green who moderated the program Sunday.

Among the local ministers participating were Larry Steffee of the Center Hill Brethren In Christ (who prayed for Smithville Elementary School), Jimmy Arms of the Upper Helton Baptist Church (who prayed for DeKalb West School), Isaac Gray of the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church (who prayed for DCHS), Phil Tollett of the Allen's Chapel and Buckner's Chapel United Methodist Churches (who prayed for the Transportation Department), Jeff Armstrong of the Smithville Church of God (who prayed for Northside Elementary School), and Don Davidson of the Real Life Community Church (who prayed for DeKalb Middle School)

Green gave persons in the audience an opportunity to offer a prayer. Luke Willoughby stepped forward to pray for parents and their children and School Board member Kenny Rhody prayed for the school board.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby also made some remarks at the beginning of the program on the importance of prayer.

After the program, Green spoke with WJLE. "I think in everything we do, we need to bathe it in prayer. The Bible tells us we need to pray about everything. The scripture says pray without ceasing so prayer is an important part of our lives as Christians and as people of God so we need to pray for our school system. If we don't have enough faith in God to protect our school system and protect our students, teachers, and administration then we need to take a look at what we're really about because prayer is that lifeline," said Green.

(TOP PHOTO: Larry Steffee, Jimmy Arms, Isaac Gray, Phil Tollett, Jeff Armstrong, Don Davidson, and Larry Green)

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