Local News Articles

Police Make Arrests for DUI and Domestic Assault Over New Year Holiday Weekend

January 3, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police made several arrests over the New Year holiday weekend.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says \"On December 30th Smithville Police arrested Walter Hartman of 303 Manhill Road, Dowelltown on the charges of DUI and Reckless Endangerment. This is the 5th DUI arrest for Hartman. Police observed Hartman driving his Ford Thunderbird at a high rate of speed on Cookeville Highway near Northside School crossing the centerline multiple times. When the vehicle was finally stopped and the officer approached, a 9 year old female, who was sitting in the passenger seat, crawled across the driver's seat frantically yelling \"Please help me\" to the officer. The officer immediately identified the smell of an alcoholic beverage emanating from the vehicle and asked the driver to get out of the vehicle. Upon further investigation it was discovered that the juvenile was the adopted daughter of the driver and was in fear due to Hartman's reckless driving. Hartman had to be held against the vehicle as he was too inebriated to stand. He was subsequently arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail. He was placed under $15,000 bond. Hartman's vehicle was confiscated under the state's Drug and Alcohol forfeiture act.

A second DUI arrest was made on New Year's Day when Francisco Soto Perez of 232 Orchard Lane of McMinnville was confronted by another driver who claimed that Perez almost ran into his vehicle. Smithville Police responded to a reported disturbance in the Exxon Gas Station parking lot. Officers discovered that Perez smelled of an alcoholic beverage, slurred his speech and admitted to drinking and driving. Perez was arrested and processed and remanded to the DeKalb County Jail under a bond of $1,500

On New Year's Eve Smithville Police Officers responded to 307 White Street regarding a domestic complaint. Upon arrival officer's discovered that 19 year old Daniel Lee Clien had been drinking heavily and kept a female companion from leaving the residence. Officers found that the female tried numerous times to exit from a rear bedroom window only to dragged back by Clien which left bruises on the female. Clien damaged numerous items in the residence including phones which were ripped out of the walls and glass which was broken from items being thrown about. Clien was arrested for domestic assault and underage drinking and was transported to the DeKalb County Jail under a $3,500 bond.

Smithville Police are committed to actively investigating and prosecuting drivers who are DUI. The Police Department asks that everyone help eliminate drinking and driving in our area.

County Firefighters Snuff Out New Year's Day Chimney Fire

January 4, 2006
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Volunteer Firefighters were summoned to the home of Royce and Alicia Curtis at 1472 Lower Helton Road on New Year's Day.

Chief Donny Green says the Curtis' called for help after noticing smoke from the fireplace coming back down the chimney into the house. The area around the chimney was also very hot.

By the time firefighters arrived, the house had filled with smoke and fire could be seen around the chimney where it emerges from the roof.

Green says firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze and all the fire damage was confined to the immediate area around the chimney. However, he says the entire home received significant smoke damage.

No one was injured.

Members of the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and Short Mountain Highway Stations responded along with a tanker truck.

DeKalb EMS and officers of the Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Cantrell Injured In One Car Crash

January 4, 2007
Dwayne Page

70 year old man was injured in a one car crash Wednesday night on Keltonburg Road, State Highway 288, just three tenths of a mile east of Highway 56.

Sergeant Billy Prater of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Lellon M. Cantrell was driving east on Keltonburg Road in a 1986 Pontiac four door car when he went off the right side of the road and clipped a utility pole. The wreck caused a power outage for many residents and businesses in the area for at least an hour or more.

Cantrell was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and he was later airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

Sergeant Prater was assisted at the scene by members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, DeKalb EMS, and the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Team.

DeKalb County Schools To Receive $96,880 Grant For After School Programs

January 4, 2007
Dwayne Page

Governor Bredesen, Senator Mae Beavers and Representative Frank Buck announced today a $96,880 grant to DeKalb County Schools for after-school programs for the 2006-07 school year funded by unclaimed lottery prize money. The Lottery Education After-school Programs (LEAP) is geared toward public or non-profit agencies to expand or develop after-school programs serving at least 50 percent at-risk students for an average of 15 hours a week. The LEAP program has provided approximately $21.2 million in grants to date.

\"These programs provide quality learning opportunities and a safe haven for thousands of Tennessee students after school hours,\" said Governor Bredesen. \"They provide our schools with additional resources to reach at-risk students and to improve their overall achievement. I am very aware of the high cost and challenge of providing services for at risk students, especially in urban districts, and I intend to work closely with the General Assembly to continue making progress in this area.\"

The General Assembly passed new legislation this year for a second after-school grant program, the Test Preparation Pilot Project. This program is designed to provide ACT/SAT preparation, academic tutoring and study skills for at-risk students. Each site may serve no more than 60 seventh- through ninth-grade students for an average of 15 hours a week. The project will begin with six sites ? one urban and one rural in each of Tennessee?s three grand divisions. Each site will receive $50,000 a year for three years.

?Students need quality programs to engage them after school and help reinforce the learning that goes on during the school day,? Senator Beavers said. ?These grants will have a long term impact of the quality of life in our towns.?

?Not every child has the opportunity to receive extra help and enrichment after school,? Representative Buck said. ?These after school programs will give our children the boost they need to succeed in school and in life.?

Goff Arrested On Drug Charges By Smithville Police

January 5, 2007
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a 25 year old man on drug charges Wednesday.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Joshua Goff of 816 Gentry Avenue is charged with sale and delivery of narcotics.

He says \"The case started after concerned citizens notified police that possible illegal drug activity could be occurring at 816 Gentry Avenue. There were reports that numerous cars and people on foot would frequent the residence at all hours of the day staying only for minutes after contacting someone there and then leaving. Smithville Police setup a surveillance of the property for four days validating the information after 40 cars were observed stopping in this fashion. After other investigative information was obtained officers entered the residence during an ongoing drug transaction and arrested Goff for the illegal sale of narcotics. Illegal schedule II narcotics and cash were recovered during the raid. Goff was arrested and transported to the DeKalb County Jail with a Bond of $10,000.\"

Chief Stufano says Smithville Police appreciate the continued support and vigilance the public is providing in helping law enforcement eradicate the selling of illegal narcotics in Smithville. The Police Department is committed to actively investigating all complaints of illegal drugs in our community.

Sparta Man Injured In Saturday Night Accident

January 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

A Sparta man was injured in a one vehicle accident Saturday night on Highway 70 east near Sligo Bridge.

Trooper Shannon Brinkley of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 44 year old Jeffery D. Caldwell was driving east in a Dodge Dakota 4 x 4 when he crossed into the westbound lane, went off the road, and struck a rock bluff.

Caldwell was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Team were also on the scene.

Man Charged With Forgery and Theft

January 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a 23 year old man with forgery and theft for allegedly trying to pass a forged check at a local bank.

23 year old Jacob Garrett of Old Bildad Road, Smithville is under a $5,000 bond and he will appear in General Sessions Court on January 18th.

Sheriff Ray says Garrett went to the home of a relative, took a check, then went to a local bank where he forged the name of the relative on the check and tried to cash it.

According to Sheriff Ray, Garrett has confessed to the crime.

Father and Son Charged in Recent Burglary and Theft Case

January 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has made another arrest in a recent burglary and theft case.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 18 year old Homer Anthony Petty II of Banks Pisgah Road is charged with theft of property and burglary. His bond is set at $25,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on the charges January 18th.

Petty's father, 35 year old Homer Petty, also of Banks Pisgah Road was charged with burglary and theft of property in the same case last month. His bond is set at $40,000

Sheriff Ray says the Petty's allegedly broke into Young's Nursery and Greenhouses on Highway 56 south last month. A four wheeler, utility trailer, and rolls of copper wire were stolen from the nursery.

Officers have recovered the four wheeler, utility trailer, and some of the copper.

Smithville Woman Charged With Misuse of 911

January 8, 2007
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department on Friday charged 46 year old Robin Breden Williams with misusing 911 and, in a separate case on Saturday morning, arrested 24 year old Carlos Luis Mata on drug and alcohol charges

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says on Friday officers responded to the Center Hill Apartments located at 1222 South College Street in answer to a reported disturbance between two neighbors.

Upon arrival officers made contact with the neighbors regarding an apparent assault on one another but neither one wanted to press charges at the time. Police left the scene but returned approximately an hour later as one of the parties had dialed 911 requesting police response.

Officers returned to the residence only to find that the person making the call would not open the door to speak to the officers. After about five minutes, the officers were able to have the occupant open the door briefly enough to satisfy their beliefs that she was alright. However, it was apparent that she was in an intoxicated state. Officers advised her that the 911 Emergency System was only to be used for an extreme emergency and not for general police information. After 8 more 911 calls from the same person,Robin Breden Williams of 1222 South College Street, Apartment B-6 was arrested for Misuse of 911. Her bond was set at $2,500.

In another case Smithville Police came in contact with a vehicle on Highway 70 that was weaving in and out of traffic and driving in an erratic manner at approximately 1:45 am on Saturday morning. The vehicle was eventually stopped at the intersection of Highway 70 and Short Mountain Street when the driver jumped out of the vehicle and ran across the highway. Officers chased the suspect on foot and arrested 24 year old Carlos Luis Mata of a Mexico address. Upon taking Mata into custody officers found on him a bag of white powder suspected of being cocaine. Mata also had a strong smell of alcohol on his breath and was considered DUI based on additional information obtained at the scene. Numerous open cans of beer were found strewn inside the Mata vehicle. Mata was charged with DUI, evading arrest and simple possession of narcotics- (schedule II drug), violation of the open container law, and driving without a license. Bond was set at $6,500.

Gordon Votes For Minimum Wage Increase

January 10, 2007
Dwayne Page

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon voted to increase the
federal minimum wage to $7.25 an hour, providing a benefit to 150,000
Tennessee workers.

\"This bill will make a real difference to working families in
Tennessee,\" said Gordon, a co-sponsor of the legislation. \"While the
minimum wage has been stagnant for ten years, the cost of living has
increased dramatically. Groceries cost 25 percent more now than in 1997,
and tuition, health care and gasoline costs have doubled.\"

The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007 was approved by the U.S. House
of Representatives today (Jan. 10). The bill now heads to the Senate for

The bill provides for a gradual increase in the federal minimum
wage, beginning with an increase to $5.85 an hour 60 days after the
legislation is enacted. After one year, it would increase to $6.55, and the
final increase to $7.25 would occur after two years.

The minimum wage has stayed at its current level for nine years,
longer than any time in the history of the law. When adjusted for
inflation, the minimum wage is at its lowest level in 50 years.

At $5.15 an hour, a full-time minimum wage worker brings home
just $10,712 a year. In contrast, the average CEO earns more before
lunchtime than a minimum wage worker earns all year.

\"Thirteen million Americans, including 3.4 million parents,
stand to benefit from this legislation,\" said Gordon. \"They deserve a fair
wage for an honest day's work. No American who works full-time all year
should live in poverty.\"

Gordon also said opponents of the minimum wage increase are
incorrect in saying that raising the minimum wage would hurt job growth.

\"Between 1997 and 2003, employment in small businesses actually
grew more in states with a minimum wage that was higher than the federal
minimum wage,\" said Gordon, citing a study released last year by the Center
for American Progress.

\"The years following the 1997 increase were some of our nation's
most prosperous times because those extra dollars were pumped back into the
nation's economy.\"


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