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Local News Articles

Barry Mabe Qualifies for School Board Race

February 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Barry Mabe

Another candidate has qualified for the August Board of Education Election

Barry Mabe is now in the 5th district school board race. His petition has been returned and verified by the election commission office. He will be running against incumbent member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III whose petition has also been returned and verified.

Three school board members will be elected on August 4 including one from the 4th, 5th, & 6th districts. The terms are for four years except in the 4th district. The 4th district winner will fill an unexpired two year term.

Others who have obtained qualifying petitions to date are:
Kate Miller in the 4th district
Doug Stephens in the 6th district (Stephens' petition has been returned and verified)

The qualifying deadline is Noon April 7

Missing Smyrna Woman Could be in Smithville

February 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Missing Smyrna Woman Could be in Smithville

The family of a missing Smyrna area woman is seeking the public's help in locating her.

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that 36 year old Brianna Leaver Engle may be in the Smithville area. He said Engle's cell phone pinged off a tower here this week leading authorities to believe she may have been in the area visiting friends. Engle is apparently not from here.

Engle is five feet, two inches tall, and weighs approximately 115 pounds. She has been missing since sometime around 10 p.m. on Monday, February 22 and may still be in the Smithville area.

If you have information call Denise at 615-478-4962

The Kellys to be in Concert

February 25, 2016
The Kelly's

The Kelly's will be in concert at the Smithville First Assembly of God, on Sunday March 6. The concert will begin at 10:30 a.m.

The Kelly's are from Lawrenceburg, Tennessee, the birthplace of Southern Gospel music. It just so happens that Lawrenceburg has produced a lot of talent for Southern Gospel music, and The Kelly's are among its history and heritage. When the Kelly family started singing some 50 years ago, they never dreamed of lasting so long and the ministry being as effective as it has been. If you were to ask members, past and present, they would say it has been quite a blessing that only God could have sanctioned.

The Kelly's are known for their exceptional vocal ability and caring personalities. They set a new standard for musical perfection with rich vocal harmony that is shaded with sophistication of Southern Gospel. The Kelly's today stand not only as talented and successful recording artists, but more importantly, messengers of God.

The church is located at 1650 Cookeville Highway, Smithville. The Pastor is Donnie Kelly and he extends an invitation to all to come and enjoy a service of worship and singing.

For more information call 931-260-1763.

Alexandria Postpones Action on Accepting Extrication Equipment from Smithville Fire Department

February 25, 2016
Dwayne Page
Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department has offered to loan its oldest set of extrication tools to the Alexandria Fire Department to start its own extrication team. But the Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen have not yet decided to accept it.

During the regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, the Alexandria Aldermen voted to postpone action until the city learns more from its insurance provider about the potential liability. "I'd like to make a motion that we table this until we can have a workshop and find out from the insurance company what we need to do and what is covered and what is not covered," said Alderman John Suggs. The motion was approved unanimously. Alexandria Fire Chief Brian Partridge, DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green, and a representative from the City of Smithville will be invited to participate in the workshop.

At the February meeting of the Smithville Mayor and Aldermen, the council granted Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker's request to loan the extrication equipment to Alexandria.

"I would like to ask the board if it's possible for us to loan the oldest set of tools to the Alexandria Fire Department. They are in the process of trying to start a rescue/extrication team down there. They have a crew and already have several members certified in using the tools. Some of them even came up and trained with us too. We would like to help them out and let them have our oldest set. It's still useable. We were using it up until we just replaced it. We'd like to see if we could loan that to them to help them get started until they can buy or get something on a grant. It would be understood that the tools would be their responsibility with no liability coming back to us on that. I have talked with the Alexandria Fire Chief and we'll make sure they are going to accept the responsibilities of it," said Chief Parker.

Vester Parsley, who serves as city attorney for both the Cities of Smithville and Alexandria, has prepared an agreement should Alexandria decide to accept the equipment. "Originally I was asked to do this agreement between the town and the City of Smithville and I'll wait to see what comes out of your workshop. They (City of Smithville) just wants something to relieve them of the cost of any maintenance and any liability because this is sort of on a permanent loan. It's not an outright gift but it's more or less going to be a permanent loan to the city for their use. It's one thing for the City of Smithville to loan it to you but its another thing for you to accept it. You don't have to accept it. But it would be accepted under conditions," said City Attorney Parsley at the Alexandria meeting Tuesday night.

DeKalb Democratic Party to Host County Delegate Convention

February 24, 2016

The DeKalb County Democratic Party will host its Democratic Party County Delegate Convention on Saturday, March 5, 2016 at the DeKalb County Courthouse basement, S Public Square Smithville.

The purpose is to select delegates from each county to the District Convention. The doors open at 12:00 pm and the event is open to all registered voters in the county, supporters of the Democratic Party, and those who agree to support the nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2016 Presidential election.

The party welcomes all who wish to participate in selecting Tennessee’s delegates to the Democratic Presidential Convention to attend.

Information about becoming a DNC delegate and the rules governing the DNC Delegate Selection Process may be obtained from or from the Tennessee Democratic Party, 1900 Church St, Ste 203, Nashville, TN 37203, 615-327-9779.

Thief Swipes Money Bag from Local Business

February 24, 2016
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police are investigating the theft of a money bag taken from a local business Monday afternoon.

The incident occurred at El Meriachi on West Broad Street at around 2:00 p.m.

Chief Mark Collins told WJLE that a customer at the time went behind the counter, swiped a money bag containing checks and an undisclosed amount of cash, and left. The clerk on duty was away from the counter at the time at the rear of the business.

The money bag was later found in the area of Walmart. The cash had been taken.

Chief Collins said police have been in the process of reviewing store video surveillance in hopes of identifying the suspect.

If you have information that could help solve the case contact the Smithville Police Department.

Wheeler Gets Six Years Probation for Auto Burglary

February 23, 2016
Dwayne Page
Steven Tyler Wheeler

A man believed responsible for several vehicle burglaries was sentenced Friday, February 19 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge David Patterson presided.

18 year old Steven Tyler Wheeler entered a plea to three counts of auto burglary and received a two year sentence in each case to run consecutively with each other for a total of six years. The sentence has been suspended to supervised probation except for 120 days. Wheeler is requesting judicial diversion. He is also to make restitution of $700 to Model City Auto Sales. Wheeler was given 94 days jail credit.

Smithville Police Chief Mark Collins said Wheeler was arrested on Wednesday, November 18, 2015 on three counts of burglary and vandalism. Officers took two reports on Walker Drive where someone had entered vehicles and taken items without the owner's permission. A report was also taken on Tuesday, November 17 of someone busting out a window and possibly trying to hot wire a vehicle at Model City Auto Sales in an attempt to steal the automobile. Upon investigation it was determined that all three incidents were related and that Wheeler was a suspect. After questioning, Wheeler was charged and arrested without incident.

Wheeler was charged with another burglary and theft on Friday, November 20. According to police, an officer took a report on Wednesday, November 18 in which a vehicle had been broken into on Walker Drive. Upon investigation, Wheeler was determined to have been involved in this incident in addition to the other break-ins on Walker Drive.

47 year old Kimberly Ann Patterson entered a plea to possession of a schedule II drug for resale. She received a six year sentence to serve at 30% The term is to run concurrently with all other current sentences against her. All other charges including two drug offenses are to be dismissed and not presented for indictment. She was given jail credit from July 24, 2015 to February 19, 2016.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, July 24, 2015 a sheriff's department detective went to Patterson's residence on Toad Road and spoke with her. During a discussion about a search, Patterson produced money and a silver container from her bra. The cash totaled $200. Inside the container were four and a half pills believed to be Dilaudid. She was placed under arrest.

47 year old William (Billy) Stephen Zaderiko entered a plea to theft of property under $500 and received a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days. He must make restitution of $1,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 Zaderiko was questioned about a 2013 Hustler zero turn lawn mower which he had in his possession. Zaderiko said he had purchased the mower from an auction company in Cookeville. After an investigation, it was discovered that Zaderiko had lied to law enforcement officers. During subsequent questioning, Zaderiko admitted to having lied about where he obtained the lawn mower saying he received it from his cousin who resides in Benton, Kentucky. Zaderiko further admitted to having sold the lawn mower to another person for $7,500. Officers learned that the lawn mower had been stolen in Benton, Kentucky on July 18, 2014 and that the serial number had been removed. Zaderiko said he lied about the lawn mower because he did not want to get his cousin in trouble.

46 year old Robert Roy Atnip, Jr. entered a plea to burglary and received a ten year sentence as a range III offender to serve 45% before parole eligibility. He must make restitution of $500 to Smithville Golf Course. Atnip was given jail credit of 220 days. Smithville Police said that on Saturday, September 6, 2014 Atnip allegedly broke into an outbuilding at the Smithville Golf Course and took several grass trimmers and hedge trimmers, valued at $1,500.

24 year old Clay Andrew Bain entered a plea by information to a charge of aggravated assault. He received a five year sentence all suspended except for 90 days. Bain will be on TDOC supervised probation and he must forfeit his weapon. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, November 10, 2015 a deputy was dispatched to Lakeview Drive in reference to a domestic. Upon arrival the officer spoke with Bain's girlfriend who reported that after she and Bain had gotten into an argument he shoved her to the ground causing a cut and swelling to her hand. As the woman's daughter, a minor child, tried to break up the argument, Bain grabbed her by the arm and slung her to the side causing injury to the child's arm and shoulder. After being told by the deputy that he was under arrest, Bain ran into the house and to a back bedroom where he grabbed a muzzleloader pistol from a dresser, and waved it around with the officer and others in the room. Bain was forcibly restrained and handcuffed. The weapon was found to be unloaded.

32 year old Terra Elaine Locklear entered a plea to aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000. She received a sentence of three years for the aggravated burglary and two years in the theft case to run consecutively with each other for a total of five years. The term is also to run consecutively with another case against her. Locklear will remain in the DeKalb County Drug Court Program and she is to make restitution to victims in the following amounts $500 and $425.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 Locklear and a co-defendant, 37 year old Jessie Eugene Thomas broke into a residence on Dale Ridge Road and took several tools and building materials with a total value of $1,190. During the burglary, Thomas also broke out a window valued at $425. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective. Thomas and Locklear were arrested on Friday, June 26. Thomas was also charged with vandalism. His case remains pending in court.

31 year old Rickey Stanley entered a plea to driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended except for 48 hours to serve. He was fined $360. He will be on supervised probation for six months followed by six months of good behavior probation. Stanley must also undergo an alcohol and drug assessment.

30 year old Brandon Scott Kidd entered a plea by information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation.

26 year old Christopher Alan Medlin entered a plea by information to burglary other than a habitation and theft over $1,000. He received a three year sentence in each case suspended to supervised probation. The sentences will run consecutively with each other for a total of six years to serve 120 days. A co-defendant, 24 year old Hillary Elizabeth Knowles entered a plea by information on February 12 to burglary and theft over $1,000 and received a three year sentence in each case suspended to probation. The sentences are to run consecutively with each other for a total of six years and consecutive to a violation in General Sessions Court . She is to make restitution to victims in the following amounts: $111.50, $7.29, and $50.

Sheriff Ray said that on September 13, 2015 Knowles and Medlin allegedly broke into an outbuilding at a residence on Oak Place Drive and took property valued at $550 including a Troybilt pressure washer and a tool box full of various tools. Medlin allegedly admitted to selling the stolen property. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

The theft charge against Medlin alleged that on August 29, 2015 he took various merchandise from Walmart valued at more than $1,000.

51 year old Lisa D. Dyer entered a plea to theft over $10,000 and received a four year sentence on TDOC probation. She was given 22 days jail credit and must make restitution of $12,047 to Edgar Evins Marina.

41 year old Ernest Barnwell entered a plea to a fourth offense of driving on a revoked license and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to run concurrently with a Warren County sentence against him.

35 year old Roger Curtis Gregory entered a plea by information to reckless driving and received a six month sentence on supervised probation.

45 year old Clarence Sexton, Jr. entered a plea to driving on a suspended license and received a sentence of six months on supervised probation. He will lose his license pursuant to Tennessee Department of Safety regulations.

53 year old Carl E. Martin pled guilty to domestic assault and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days suspended to probation. The sentence is to run concurrently to all current sentences against him. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 9, 2015 a deputy responded to Cookeville Highway for a physical domestic between Martin and his wife. Martin allegedly caused bodily harm to the woman by breaking her tooth, busting her lip, and bruising her eye lid and eye brow. The woman said that Martin held her down by the hair and beat her in the face while in the living room of the home. The woman said she feared for her safety.

38 year old Joel Thomas Hayes entered a plea to theft under $500 and simple possession. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case on probation. Hayes was fined $750. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a Warren County case against him. He must make restitution of $20 to a victim.

50 year old James Warner, Jr. entered a plea to aggravated assault and received a three year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. He must attend domestic violence classes. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, August 15, 2014 Warner allegedly assaulted his wife by grabbing her by the throat and he threw her on the ground, resulting in a knot on the back of her head. He also allegedly hit her in the face which resulted in a knot on her forehead. Physical markings could be seen on the woman's throat area where Warner had tried to strangle her. A minor child was in the home at the time and witnessed the assault.

38 year old Michelle Yarbro entered a plea to driving under the influence and simple possession of schedule IV and II drugs. She received a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days in each case to run consecutively for a total of almost three years. Yarbro must serve 48 hours and then be on probation. She was fined a total of $1,850 and must attend a DUI class and victim impact panel, undergo an alcohol and drug assessment and follow all recommendations. She will also lose her driver license for one year.

68 year old Paul Cox Herron, Jr. entered a plea by information to reckless driving and received a six month sentence on supervised probation.

20 year old Oscar Garcia pled guilty to evading arrest and resisting arrest . He got a one year sentence for evading and six months for resisting . The sentences are to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to a Putnam County case against him. He will be on supervised probation. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, July 3, 2014 a deputy was dispatched to Cookeville Highway to look for a possible drunk driver. The officer saw the vehicle and noticed that it had failed to maintain its lane of travel. The deputy tried to stop the automobile but it sped away traveling at up to 100 miles per hour down Cookeville Highway. The car ran four traffic lights along the way, barely missing other motorists as it carelessly swerved in and out of traffic. At one point, the vehicle pulled over to the shoulder of the road and stopped, but then took off again as the officer got out of his patrol car. The deputy got back in his cruiser and began a 13.75 mile pursuit to Hurricane Ridge Road where the fleeing automobile finally stopped. The driver, Garcia initially refused to get out of the vehicle. When he finally did exit the car, Garcia resisted being handcuffed. Garcia was eventually arrested and brought to the jail for booking. Garcia, who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person, admitted to drinking two beers.

37 year old Gregory Roberts pled guilty to a third offense of driving on a revoked license. He received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days all suspended to supervised probation except for 48 hours to serve. He will lose his driver license eligibility per Department of Safety regulations. Roberts was given two days of jail credit.

47 year old Bradley L. Luna entered a plea to driving under the influence and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days to serve 48 hours and then be on probation. He was fined $350 and will lose his driver license for one year. He must attend a DUI class and victim impact panel.

Over 900 Vote Early in DeKalb County

February 23, 2016
Dwayne Page

A total of 938 persons cast ballots during the eleven day early voting period for the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primaries and the DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

According to Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley, 595 persons voted in the Republican Primary and 343 cast ballots in the Democratic Primaries.



On Tuesday, February 23, the last day for early voting 181 persons cast ballots including 179 in person and 2 by absentee. One hundred fifteen voted in the Republican Primary and 66 in the Democratic Primaries.

Although early voting has ended, absentees can still come in through election day.

The Primary is set for Tuesday, March 1. Voting at all precincts in the county will be that day from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Although some candidates have dropped out, the names of presidential candidates for the March 1 presidential preference primary, or “SEC Primary" in Tennessee are as follows:

Republican Primary Ballot
•Jeb Bush
•Ben Carson
•Chris Christie
•Ted Cruz
•Carly Fiorina
•Jim Gilmore
•Lindsey O. Graham
•Mike Huckabee
•John R. Kasich
•George Pataki
•Rand Paul
•Marco Rubio
•Rick Santorum
•Donald J. Trump

Democratic Primary Ballot
•Hillary Clinton
•Martin J. O’Malley
•Bernie Sanders

Meanwhile, the DeKalb County Democratic Primary will be held on March 1 to select nominees for Assessor of Property and Constable in six of the seven districts of the county.

Incumbent Assessor of Property Scott Cantrell will be unopposed for re-nomination by his party in the March 1 DeKalb County Democratic Primary but he will be opposed by Republican Shannon A. Cantrell in the August General Election.

Democrat Jason C. Taylor is unopposed for Constable in the 1st district in the March 1 Primary but he will face Republican Lee Plummer in the August County General Election.

There is no Democratic candidate for Constable in the 2nd district. Republican Tom Theriaque will be unopposed for 2nd district Constable in the August General Election.

Incumbent Democratic Constables Travis Bryant in the 3rd district, Paul Cantrell in the 4th district, Mark Milam in the 5th district, Carl Lee Webb in the 6th district, and Johnny King in the 7th district will be unopposed in both the March 1 Primary and in the August General Election.

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary is being held in conjunction with the Tennessee Presidential Preference Primary on March 1.

County to Seek More Applicants for Judicial Commissioner

February 23, 2016
Dwayne Page
Taft Hendrixson

The county will take more time in searching for a new judicial commissioner.

During Monday night's regular monthly meeting the county commission voted to re-advertise an opening for two additional weeks hoping to get more applications. The county's judicial committee will then review any applications received and make a recommendation to the county commission.

The vacancy has been created due to the resignation of Taft Hendrixson because of health reasons.

The county recently advertised the opening and received one applicant but she is the spouse of a Smithville police officer and members of the judicial committee were concerned that this could be viewed as a conflict.

One of the judicial commissioners now serving, James Harvey Barnes, is the sheriff's uncle. Some question why this is not a conflict.

County Attorney Hilton Conger said Monday night that he has placed a call to an attorney for the state's judicial ethics committee to inquire as to whether the spouse of a police officer should serve as a judicial commissioner. Conger said he has not yet heard back from the attorney.

If the opinion is that the police officer's wife could serve, she may still be considered for the position along with any others who apply within the next two weeks.

"Judicial commissioners are under the auspices of the Court of the Judiciary the same as judges from the Supreme Court down through judicial commissioners. I put in a call for the attorney for the ethics commission to discuss this with him but I didn't get a call back this afternoon (Monday). I think the concern of the (county judicial) committee was that if this particular officer came in to request a warrant and his wife was on duty you might not have a neutral and detached magistrate which is the requirement," said County Attorney Conger.

As for one of the judicial commissioners being the Sheriff's uncle Conger said this may not actually be a conflict since he (sheriff) seldom signs a warrant. "I don't ever see the Sheriff signing any warrants. His deputies do but the Sheriff doesn't usually request a warrant. I don't know if his uncle being a judicial commissioner would have any bearing on that but I could certainly see a husband and wife situation. It might raise a conflict and we don't want to do anything that at least appears improper," said Conger.

The county has had three judicial commissioners including Taft Hendrixson, James Harvey Barnes, and Tammy Ashburn. They were appointed by the county commission to the positions for a one year term last September as recommended by the judicial committee.

The judicial committee is made up of the General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, County Mayor, and a representative of the District Attorney General's Office.

Judicial commissioners are responsible for the issuance of criminal arrest warrants upon finding probable cause. They are subject to call at all hours of the day and night. Judicial commissioners serve at the pleasure of the county commission and their terms of office can be one year to four years.

County Mayor Presents Plaque to Elmer Ellis, Jr.

February 22, 2016
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Tim Stribling Presents Plaque to 1st District County Commissioner Elmer Ellis, Jr.

Fellow County Commissioners said their goodbyes to 1st district member Elmer Ellis, Jr. Monday night.

Ellis, who has served as a commissioner for more than nine years, is stepping down. He made the announcement during an all committees meeting of the county commission Thursday night. He met with the county commission for the final time Monday night.

Ellis and his wife are soon moving to Texas to be near their daughter due to his wife's health.

County Mayor Tim Stribling presented a plaque to Ellis in appreciation for his years of service.

"We thank you Junior for your service to the county. He has been fair and has always voted what he thought represented his district. I served on the 911 board with him before I even became County Mayor when I was an Aldermen and represented the City of Smithville on the 911 Board," said Stribling

"He is going to be a difficult one to replace. We wish him well. I have always respected him. I respect him even more in that he's doing this (resigning) because of his family. I think you have to look after your family first and foremost. He has put his family above himself. Junior we thank you for your service to this county and this commission. I appreciate your service," County Mayor Stribling concluded.

Ellis was first elected to the county commission in August 2006. He was re-elected in 2010 and in 2014. His term expires August 31, 2018.

The remainder of the term will be filled in the August 4 DeKalb County General Election.

In this situation there will be no primary election, but any nominees of political parties shall be selected by party convention. The office will be on the August 4th ballot, according to Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections.

Under state law, if there is still time for a normal qualifying deadline, the normal qualifying deadline will be used. The qualifying deadline for the August 4 elections is Noon April 7.

In this case, Ellis resigned prior to 10 days before the April 7 Noon qualifying deadline. Therefore, candidates can be certified by party convention prior to the deadline and appear on the August ballot as a party nominee.

And/Or—candidates can seek the office by petition process as an Independent candidate.

However, if a candidate seeks the nomination of a party by convention and fails in his/her attempt..that person cannot run as an independent under state law.

"I want to publicly thank Elmer Ellis for his service to DeKalb County during his time as a 1st District County Commissioner. I wish him and his family well on their future endeavors. Anyone interested in becoming the Democratic Party nominee to fill Mr. Ellis' vacancy as a 1st District County Commissioner please let me know. The Democratic Party will hold a nominating convention to select a candidate. The office will be on the August General and State Primary ballot," said DeKalb County Democratic Party Chairman Jordan Wilkins.


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