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Representative Weaver Explains Reason for Voting Not to Expel Durham

September 14, 2016
Dwayne Page
 Terri Lynn Weaver
Gayla Hendrix

After more than an hour debating, members of the Tennessee General Assembly on Tuesday voted 70-2 to expel Representative Jeremy Durham (R-Franklin).

Representative Terri Lynn Weaver (R-Lancaster) and Representative Courtney Rogers (R-Goodlettsville) voted against expelling Durham. More than 20 legislators abstained from voting or were not present.

Durham, accused in an Attorney General's report of sexually harassing at least 22 women, attempted to make a case against his expulsion arguing that the vote was tantamount to an unfair trial. Durham claimed he did not get a chance to present evidence to defend himself.

Representative Weaver told WJLE Wednesday morning that she voted against expelling Durham because he was denied due process. “Yesterday’s vote was a very important one. I believe in procedures. I believe those are paramount. Those procedures of due process, in other words, innocent before guilty, are precious procedures to be afforded by everyone even if some are bad actors. I’m sure there were shenanigans but still there was no due process presented to me. The vote was very difficult for me to make. But I was sent there (state legislature) to be your voice. There was no room to be on the fence on this (abstain from voting). After yesterday’s vote what is concerning to me is that any member of the General Assembly can be expelled based on rumors or hearsay and that puts justice and due process on a very slippery slope. I defended the process of law for all and I would do it again. I want to thank the people of District 40 for your confidence in me. I was sent there (legislature) to be courageous and to vote the right way and I believe I did that,” she said.

Representative Weaver has come under fire from her political opponent in the November Election, Gayla Hendrix for this vote.

In a prepared news release, Hendrix said Weaver abandoned her beliefs on morality in support of a sexual predator and her vote would have allowed him to receive his taxpayer funded pension. “Disturbingly, Representative Weaver was one of two legislators who voted to allow him (Durham) to complete his term and receive his pension, even in light of all the allegations. She voted to excuse his sexual aggression and enable his unacceptable behavior, his mistreatment of others, and his repeated breaches of sworn duty as a Tennessee lawmaker,” said Hendrix.

“Terri Lynn talks a good line about strong morals and family values, but where were those morals and values earlier today when she stood with a sexual predator instead of the overwhelming and bipartisan majority of her peers in the Tennessee House of Representatives and voters across the state?”

“Terri Lynn’s support of Jeremy Durham is detestable, sickening, and a slap in the face of everyone who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace. Her vote to allow him to remain in the legislature and collect a lifetime pension is evidence of her willingness to be fiscally careless with Tennessee tax dollars. As a former domestic violence prosecutor, I know first-hand the kind of trauma the 22 women in the report experienced. Her insensitivity to these women - the threats and intimidation they experienced - is proof that she has neither the moral conviction nor the strength of character the voters of District 40 deserve from our elected representative,” said Hendrix.

Tuesday marked only the third time a legislator has been kicked out of Tennessee's statehouse. Previous expulsions happened in 1866 and 1980.

Teens Receive Five Year Sentence on Probation for Liberty Burglaries and Thefts

September 14, 2016
Dwayne Page
Joshua James Boland
Bobby Christopher Maynard
Justin Dwayne Spann

Two teens arrested in recent burglaries and thefts at two homes in Liberty were sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, September 12.

18 year old Joshua James Boland and 18 year old Bobby Christopher Maynard both of Clear Creek Road, Liberty each entered a plea by information to one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $1,000. Each received a three year sentence for the burglary and two years for the theft to run consecutively for a total sentence of five years each suspended to supervised probation. They are to make restitution to the victims totaling $3,200. Maynard is seeking judicial diversion. He was given jail credit of 32 days. Boland was given 30 days jail credit.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, August 2 Boland and Maynard allegedly broke into a residence on West Main in Liberty. Items taken from this home were several pieces of jewelry, an iPod Touch, a Kindle Fire, a Verizon prepaid phone, an Easton ball bat bag, $750 in cash and $300 in assorted change.

Five days later on Sunday, August 7 Boland and Maynard allegedly burglarized a different home on West Main Street in Liberty. Items taken from this home included a Winchester 45 caliber revolver, a 25 caliber semi-automatic handgun, and $350 in assorted change.

According to Sheriff Ray, some of the stolen items have been recovered. The cases were investigated by Sheriff’s Department Detectives.

Meanwhile, 29 year old Justin Dwayne Spann entered a plea by information to theft over $500 and received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. He is to make restitution of $600 to the victim. Spann was given jail credit from January 24 to September 12, 2016. Sheriff Ray said that on November 24, 2015 Spann allegedly took a Cotter Utility Trailer from a location on Sparta Highway. The trailer was valued at $1,500.

McKinley Gets Probation for Vehicular Assault

September 14, 2016
Dwayne Page
McKinley Gets Probation for Vehicular Assault
1997 Ford F150 driven by Michael Quinton McKinley in March 2015 wreck
1977 Ford pickup driven by 43 year old Timmy Hendrixson in March 2015 accident

A 23 year old McMinnville man involved in a two vehicle crash last year was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

Michael McKinley entered a plea by information to one count of vehicular assault and received a four year sentence all suspended to time served. The term is to run consecutive to a sentence against him in Warren County. McKinley was given jail credit from March 9 to September 12, 2016.

McKinley was among three people who were involved in that crash on Saturday, March 14, 2015 on Highway 56 south near Evins Mill Nursery.

Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that McKinley was traveling north in a 1997 Ford F150 when the truck went off the right side of the highway. McKinley overcorrected and his truck then crossed the center line and made an angle impact with a southbound 1977 Ford pickup , driven by 44 year old Timmy Hendrixson of Smithville.

Hendrixson was ejected from his truck. McKinley was trapped in his pickup. Both were seriously hurt along with a 17 year old McMinnville boy who was a passenger with McKinley.

Members of the DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication Team were summoned to help free McKinley from the wreckage.

According to Trooper Johnson, McKinley was transported by DeKalb EMS to Vanderbilt Hospital. The 17 year old boy was taken by EMS to the Smithville Municipal Airport where he was airlifted by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. DeKalb EMS took Hendrixson to Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Sergeants Eric McCormick and Jimmy Jones assisted Trooper Johnson with the crash investigation.

Downtown Street Paving Postponed Until Next Week

September 13, 2016
Dwayne Page

The paving of downtown city streets, which was expected to have begun today (Tuesday), has been postponed until next week.

City Public Works Director Kevin Robinson said officials of Tinsley Asphalt Company, the contractor for the project, informed him today (Tuesday) that they have another project elsewhere to finish before they start this one.

Tentative plans were to begin paving today (Tuesday) but as Robinson noted those plans were subject to change.

All milling work has been completed and no paving is planned for this week. Anyone having business downtown will find the public square and all the streets in the downtown area open for traveling and parking.

In addition to the public square around the courthouse, streets to paved are Don Cantrell Street by City Hall, West Walnut Street, East Main Street, West Main Street, and West Market Street. The work will be done in sections and only the sections being worked on will be closed.

The courthouse and all businesses in the area will also remain open during this period

Couch Charged with Aggravated Assault of his Girlfriend

September 13, 2016
Dwayne Page
Mika Shane Couch
Rosendo Garcia Martinez
Madison Hope Hayes

A Smithville man was arrested last week for assaulting his girlfriend and later for violating bond conditions to stay away from her.

31 year old Mika Shane Couch of Smithville, Highway, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault and violation of bond conditions. His bond totals $17,500 and his court date is September 29. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, September 8 a deputy was called to the emergency room of the hospital where he spoke to a woman being examined for chest pains. The woman said that on Monday, September 5, she and her boyfriend, Couch began arguing when he grabbed her by the arms and slammed her down on their bed. She further stated that on Tuesday, September 6 Couch assaulted her again by twisting her leg causing major swelling to the knee. During her examination on Thursday, September 8 the woman was found to have suffered a broken sternum and she had numerous bruises all over her body.

Couch was arrested again on Sunday, September 11 after allegedly violating his bond conditions to stay away from this woman. A deputy responded to a residence on Cookeville Highway due to a 911 open line. Upon arrival he found Couch with the victim. A computer check revealed that Couch is under bond conditions in reference to the aggravated assault that occurred on Thursday, September 8.

45 year old Rosendo Garcia Martinez of McMinnville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for driving on a suspended license, violation of the open container law, and driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $1,500 and his court date is September 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, September 4 a deputy was dispatched to the area of McMinnville Highway due to a complaint of a possible intoxicated driver in a white Ford pickup. The officer spotted the truck traveling in the middle of the roadway. He made a traffic stop of the vehicle and spoke with the driver, Martinez. His eyes were glossy and bloodshot and his speech was slurred. Martinez was also unsteady on his feet. He submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. Martinez was placed under arrest.

18 year old Madison Hope Hayes of Granville Drive, Smithville is charged with underage driving while impaired. Her bond is $1,500 and her court date is September 29. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, September 10 a deputy received a call of a suspicious vehicle at a residence. Upon arrival the officer found Hayes passed out in a GMC Sierra in the driveway. The engine was still running and the headlights were on. He awoke Hayes and found her to be unsteady on her feet. Her eyes were bloodshot and she had a strong odor of alcohol on her person. Hayes performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. She also submitted to a blood alcohol test.

Early Voting Times Set for November 8 Elections

September 13, 2016
Early Voting Times Set for November 8 Elections

You can start making plans to vote early. The DeKalb County Election Commission has now set the hours for early voting for the November 8 elections.

Early voting will be held October 19 through November 3 on the first floor of the DeKalb County Courthouse.

The hours will be Mondays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Wednesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thursdays 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Fridays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. until noon.

“Voting early will be the smart choice for this election,” said Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.

“Nearly 3,000 voted on election day in 2012, the last Presidential election, and over 2,800 voted early that year. With the huge turnout we anticipate this November, we would like to see the early voting numbers far exceed the actual election day vote,” he said. “Early voting is so convenient with the number of days and flexible hours. It’s the smart choice to make.”

Meanwhile, October 11 is the last day to register to vote for the November election. That same deadline applies to those who wish to register as property rights voters in the City of Smithville.

In addition to the presidential candidates, races on the ballot include the 6th District U.S. Congressional seat, seats for the 40th and 46th Tennessee House of Representatives, and two liquor referendums in the City of Smithville—consumption on the premises and the sale of wine at retail food stores.

Stanley also reminded voters to keep their residential (and mailing) address up to date with the election office.

“If you have moved since you last voted, you should call the election commission office to make sure your correct address is on file,” Stanley said. “Tennessee law requires voters to cast their ballot in the precinct that matches their residential address, so keeping your address up to date with our office can avoid delays when voting.”

In addition, voters who have moved to DeKalb County from another county in Tennessee or from another state need to register locally before the October 11 deadline.

New DCHS Girls Basketball Coach Seeks to Start Alumni Club

September 13, 2016
Dwayne Page
Coach Danny Fish

As he looks toward building the program, Coach Danny Fish wants to honor the history and tradition of the DCHS women’s basketball program and start an alumni club to keep in touch with former players.

Inspired by a reunion of the 1986 DCHS Tigerette Softball team during the spring, Coach Fish told WJLE recently that he would like to pay tribute to former Lady Tiger basketball players and learn through them more about the earlier years of the program.

“I’m trying to get the history of the women’s basketball program. I want to start an alumni club to where I can have names, emails, phone numbers, and addresses of people who have played in the program before. I want to know the background and history of the women’s basketball program. It’s because of the players who came before us that we have such a rich tradition,” said Coach Fish.

“I’m trying to generate some excitement by bringing back some of the older players. I believe that for us to have strong athletics at the high school with any program we need community involvement. I’m trying to reach out to the community and to former players and coaches. I want them to be involved,” Coach Fish continued.

“We’re looking at maybe having a reception for former and current players and coaches closer to the season. We want to get them together and hear their stories. All through my coaching days, regardless of what I’ve done before, it’s always been about the relationships. Win games. Lose games. Win championships. Not win championships. When you come back years later to tell those stories it all comes down to the relationships you made with each other. Renewing old relationships and making new relationships is something I’d like to do and build bridges to the future,” he said.

While his emphasis is on making contact with former Lady Tigers, Coach Fish said he would also like to see the men’s program honor Tigers of the past. “Its not a separate entity but one. I played in the 90’s and would like to see my former teammates again. We have a very rich history in men and women’s basketball and I plan to work with Coach Lynus Martin on maybe doing something for the men too,” he said.

Former Lady Tigers are urged to send their names, addresses, phone numbers, email information to dannyfish@dekalbschools.net.

“I plan to start a bulk mailing list and send out a blast email to keep them informed about what we’re doing in the program,” Coach Fish concluded.

Coach Fish was named to head the DCHS Girls Basketball Program last month after Coach Nathaniel Kennard resigned. Coach Fish was also chosen earlier in the summer to succeed Coach Danny Bond as the head coach of the DCHS Tigerette Fast Pitch Softball Team. Coach Bond stepped down as coach but remains in the school system having taken another position.

Fish was born and raised in DeKalb County and he graduated from DCHS in 1996. During his high school years, Fish played both basketball and baseball. He served as an assistant to Coach Bond in the softball program for the last four years before being named to succeed him. Fish teaches physical education at DCHS.

Aldermen-Elect and Reappointed City Judge Take Oath of Office

September 12, 2016
Dwayne Page
Aldermen Josh Miller, Shawn Jacobs, and Danny Washer Take Oath of Office
Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger Takes Oath of Office After Being Reappointed to New Two Year Term

The three Smithville Aldermen who were re-elected to new four year terms last month took their oath of office during Monday night’s monthly city council meeting.

City Attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. administered the oath to Aldermen Shawn Jacobs, Josh Miller, and Danny Washer. Their terms officially began September 1.

Meanwhile, Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger was re-appointed by the Aldermen to serve another two year term. Conger was sworn in by City Attorney Parsley.

Mayor Jimmy Poss appointed Alderman Danny Washer as Commissioner of the Water and Sewer Department; Alderman Gayla Hendrix, Commissioner of the Sanitation Department; Alderman Jason Murphy, Commissioner of Streets and Safety; Alderman Josh Miller, Commissioner of the Police and Fire Departments; and Alderman Shawn Jacobs will be the Commissioner of Finance and Taxation. Alderman Jason Murphy will be the Vice-Mayor.

In other business, the Aldermen promoted certified sewer plant operator Anthony Hasemann to Supervisor of the plant to replace Bobby Pinegar, who recently retired.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker addressed the Mayor and Aldermen asking for a workshop to discuss options for purchasing a new combination fire engine/rescue vehicle to replace the fire department’s oldest fire truck, a 1992 model, as well as a 20 year old rescue truck and cargo van. The workshop will be Monday, September 19 at 5:00 p.m. at city hall.

Local Youth Attend Annual TN 4‐H Roundup

September 12, 2016
Leigh Fuson
Caitlyn Lawrence and Kayla Belk
Caitlyn Lawrence

For the 93rd year, 4‐H members from across Tennessee gathered at the University of Tennessee for State 4‐H Roundup and All Star Conference.

The annual event, which took place July 25‐29, recognized the outstanding project work and leadership accomplishments of senior high 4‐H members. Approximately 300 high school age 4‐H’ers from across Tennessee met for several days on the UT Knoxville campus. 4‐H’ers competed in projects such as communications, livestock, computers and technology, and photography for college scholarship money and trips to National 4‐H Congress in Atlanta. The theme for this meeting and for all 4‐H programs in 2016 was “Tennessee 4‐H: Breaking Barriers and Building Leaders.”

Representing DeKalb County at State 4‐H Roundup this year were Kayla Belk, 11th grade, and Caitlyn Lawrence, 12th grade. Caitlyn competed in her project area of nutrition, health, and fitness. She was a regional finalist with her portfolio and earned her trip to Round Up. She also had to compete in a professional interview and represented DeKalb County very well. Caitlyn attended as an All-Star member and completed service hours with Keep Knoxville Beautiful. Caitlyn also received the Vol State Award, the highest level of recognition a 4-H member can be awarded. This award is only given to current or incoming high school seniors.

Teens from all over the state came together, competed in their project areas, learned life skills such as leadership and citizenship, made lifelong friends and had a great time at Dollywood. Roundup is one of the highlights for Tennessee’s 4‐H program. Delegates who attend have spent years of work in their respective project areas. Delegates to the 2016 Tennessee 4‐H Roundup and All Star Conference were also asked to collect items for foster children in East Tennessee.

“Service‐learning opportunities are a very important component of the 4‐H program,” said Richard Clark, Assistant Dean and Department Head for Tennessee 4‐H Youth Development. “Each year, 4‐H’ers statewide perform tens of thousands of hours of service at an estimated value of over $1 million. Through the service‐learning projects, our 4‐H’ers learn that they can really make a difference in their communities.”

4‐H is the Youth Development program for University of Tennessee Extension and Tennessee State University. 4‐H teaches leadership, citizenship and service learning to more than 168,000 youth in 4th through 12th grades. 4‐H also has more than 6,000 adult volunteers. For more information about DeKalb County 4-H, please call 615-597-4945.

Photo Caption:
Round Up: Caitlyn Lawrence and Kayla Belk after the awards banquet at State 4-H Roundup held at UT Knoxville. Kayla was a state finalist in her project area of nutrition, health, and fitness.

Caitlyn Lawrence received the highest honor a TN 4-H member can receive: Vol State.

Local Heroes Join Boy Scouts in Special 9/11 Flag Retirement Ceremony (VIEW VIDEOS HERE)

September 12, 2016
Dwayne Page
Members of Boy Scout Troop 347 and Leaders Conduct 9/11 Flag Retirement Ceremony
Local emergency personnel and others joined members of Boy Scout Troop 347 in a special 9/11 flag retirement ceremony Sunday.
Sheriff Patrick Ray joins Boy Scout in retiring an American Flag
County Fire Chief Donny Green joins Boy Scout in retiring an American Flag

Local emergency personnel and others joined members of Boy Scout Troop 347 in a special 9/11 flag retirement ceremony Sunday.

The event was hosted by Alan and Lora Webb on the grounds of the Webb House Retirement Center. Residents of the center, local veterans, and others were in attendance.

“The Boys Scouts retire a lot of flags every year and we do several ceremonies but this one is special. Everyone who was old enough to recognize what was going on that day knows the significance of 9/11. For the young Scouts here in the audience I need you to know that the world changed that day for the United States. It was a day that was terrible but a day that showed great courage in many Americans. It has shaped our foreign policy for the last fifteen years in this country. If you get a chance to see a documentary on 9/11 I think you should take that chance because you need to understand the significance of this day. I’m sure it is similar to the way people felt about Pearl Harbor but the difference I think is that everybody in this country was able to see it happen in live time on television that day. The country basically stopped that day and has not been the same since. We’re very proud of the men and women who responded to that emergency and disaster. There is still great sorrow over the loss of life that ensued as the emergency responders who came to that incident perished when the towers fell,” said Scout Master Dr. Will Sherwood, who served as Master of Ceremony.

Jacob Williams, Boy Scout Chaplain’s Aide offered a brief prayer followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Senior Patrol Leader Jonathan Birmingham and then a performance of the National Anthem by Erica Birmingham. The Boy Scout Troop 347 Color Guard presented the Colors.

Scout Master Jen Sherwood recognized local heroes as the Boy Scouts presented them a star cut from the cloth of the American flags to be retired. “As we celebrate 9/11 we cannot help but thank those who lost their lives in the buildings doing their duty to their country and to their local citizens. It is our pleasure at this time to also recognize those people in our own community who do this day in and day out in DeKalb County. We would like to recognize all of our local law enforcement and emergency personnel for the job that they do in our community. This is our opportunity to say thank you and to know that they are doing a tremendous service in DeKalb County,” said Sherwood.

Jen Sherwood and Sherry Bush then led the audience in singing “God Bless America”, “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, and “Let There Be Peace on Earth”.

The flag retirement ceremony followed.

“The United States federal law provides that the flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display should be destroyed in a dignified way preferably by burning,” said Dr. Sherwood.


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