Local News Articles

Man Files False Report in Rock Throwing Case

August 26, 2014
Dwayne Page
Brian Kane Pack

A Smithville man has been charged with filing a false report and reckless endangerment for allegedly throwing rocks at his family's home and vehicles as well as law enforcement officers and then trying to blame someone else for it.

24 year old Brian Kane Pack of Lakeview Circle, Smithville is under a $12,000 bond and he will be in court August 28.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, August 21 a detective and other members of the sheriff's department along with TWRA officers were called to a residence on Lakeview Circle to investigate who had been throwing rocks at the home and several vehicles there. According to Sheriff Ray, this was not the first complaint. Officers had been called to the same residence several times before and on a couple of occasions, someone had thrown good sized rocks at the officers while they there on the scene at night, hitting a patrol car and another vehicle used in undercover operations. During the investigation, Pack came forward to report that he knew who was throwing the rocks and gave the officers the names of the suspects. The investigation later revealed that Pack was the only person responsible. When confronted by a detective, Pack allegedly admitted to throwing the rocks and giving officers false information.

Due to his actions, Sheriff Ray said that Pack placed the officers in danger of bodily injury by causing them to go into the woods at night on steep terrain, looking for someone that Pack knew was not there.

44 year old Donna Sue Blankenship of McMinnville is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, August 18 a deputy was dispatched to the Short Mountain Highway area in reference to a suspicious woman who was reported to have been going door to door and walking through people's yards. The officer found the woman, Blankenship on Banks Pisgah Road. Residents in that neighborhood said they did not know Blankenship. She had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Blankenship said she had been taking Xanax. She was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

34 year old Heather Starr Trapp of South College Street, Smithville is charged with driving on a suspended license and evading arrest. Her bond is $7,500. The offenses occurred on June 4 but the warrants were not served on her until August 20. After her arrest on June 4, Trapp was taken to Warren County where authorities had active warrants on her for separate offenses. In the June 4 incident locally, Sheriff Ray said that a deputy was called to check out a complaint of a possible drunk driver on Highway 56 south. The officer spotted the vehicle on Whorton Springs Road and observed it traveling on the wrong side of the road. He attempted to conduct a traffic stop using lights and sirens but the car continued on down the road for another one to two miles before finally coming to a stop. The driver was found to be Trapp. A computer check revealed her license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in 2011.

54 year old Lonnie Ray Dyer of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with two counts of assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court August 28. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, August 19 Dyer, a prisoner in DeKalb County Jail, allegedly assaulted two other inmates in the cell with him by hitting them in the back of the head with his fists.

31 year old Anthony Robert Hawkins of Cecil Hale Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued a citation for driving on roadways laned for travel. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court September 11. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, August 23 a deputy was on Highway 70 when he spotted a silver Chevrolet Silverado leave its lane of travel several times. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Hawkins who had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Hawkins said that he had been drinking and had taken prescription medication. Hawkins submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest.

Three Injured in Sunday Wreck

August 25, 2014
Dwayne Page
Three Injured in Sunday Wreck

Three people were transported to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital Sunday after a two car wreck at West Bryant Street and Fisher Avenue.

Captain Steven Leffew of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that 64 year old Patricia Luna of Sparta, driving a 2001 Buick Le Sabre, attempted to make a right turn onto Bryant Street from Fisher Avenue when she pulled into the path of a 2002 Toyota Camry, driven by 64 year old Glenda Turner of Smithville who was traveling east on Bryant Street.

Luna, Turner and a passenger with Luna, 83 year old Geneva Looney of Smithville were taken to the hospital by DeKalb EMS. The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was also on the scene to provide assistance.

Captain Leffew said Luna was cited for failure to yield.

Danny Parkerson to Retire as DWS Prinicpal

August 24, 2014
Dwayne Page
Danny Parkerson

After a career as an educator spanning almost four decades and nearly all that time as either Teacher or Principal at DeKalb West School, Danny Parkerson is retiring. But come next month, Parkerson will have a new assignment, school board member.

Parkerson will be representing the first district, taking over the position being vacated by John David Foutch who decided against seeking another term on the school board this year. "I hope I can give the school board my experience having been a teacher and principal and help them see things from that point of view," said Parkerson in an interview with WJLE last week.

Parkerson is hoping to remain principal until his first school board meeting, September 11.

Born and raised in Alexandria, Parkerson has called DeKalb County home all his life. After high school graduation, he furthered his education at MTSU and Tennessee Tech. "I attended MTSU from 1969 to 1972. I got my Masters and Ed.S degree from Tennessee Tech. I even took a three hour course at TSU," said Parkerson.

His first teaching job was in Smith County. " I started out for two years at Forks River in Smith County. I came to DeKalb West in the 1978-79 year," he said. While his background is in science, Parkerson said he enjoyed teaching a variety of subjects, especially math.

After joining the staff at DWS, Parkerson became the girls basketball coach and later took on the boy's program as well. "I started out with Tommy Alexander. He was the boy's coach and I was the girls coach. After Tommy left, I took over the boy's program until I became principal. I've stayed out of coaching mostly since then but I have helped a couple of times when we've been in between coaches," said Parkerson.

During his eighteen year career as basketball coach, Parkerson guided several teams to winning seasons including championships at the James C. Haile State Invitational Tournament held annually in Murfreesboro. " The 1992 season was probably the best boy's team I ever had. It was a complete team. We had depth. We won about every tournament we went to that year," he said.

When former DWS principal Eddie Hobson stepped down in the mid 1990's, Parkerson got the call to succeed him. Now in his 19th year, Parkerson said being principal at DWS has been rewarding and a job he has thoroughly enjoyed. While he is comfortable with his decision to retire, Parkerson said he will miss being at the school every day. "You get to a point in life that you know it's time. I'm feeling pretty comfortable about it being time. I know I'm going to miss it. I'm going to miss the kids. I'll miss the school. I may get a little emotional. I love the West School. As an educator we sometimes forget who we work for. We work for the public. I would like to thank everybody in DeKalb County for supporting DeKalb West and for giving me a job that has lasted a lifetime," he said.

Since groundbreaking last year, Parkerson has been looking forward to the completion of the new building addition at DWS and is happy to see it being finished before he steps down. "This will meet the majority of the needs at DeKalb West School for the next twenty five years at least. You'll have to come and see it," he said.

An open house for the public is expected to be held soon.

While Parkerson has enjoyed being an educator, he also finds satisfaction in serving his community in the public arena. His election to the school board is just his latest venture into politics. Parkerson served two stints as Mayor of Alexandria from 1985 through 1989 and from 1993 until 1997. He was also a member of the county commission from the first district several years ago. "People should serve their community. The reason I ran for the county commission is because I wanted to see how the county operated and learn a little bit more about county politics and what the county commission did. But If you want to learn about government, small town is the way to go (referring to his terms as mayor). I'm now looking forward to the challenge of working with the gentlemen that serve their districts on the school board and learning what the community wants and try to get a plan to facilitate it," Parkerson said.

As he leaves as Principal, Parkerson wishes his successor and all his fellow teachers continued success in the years ahead. " I appreciate all the teachers I've worked, shared , laughed, and cried with. We hold in our hands the most precious thing God has given a family, a child. I've heard some say it (teaching) is a calling. I give God credit. When you're going forward you may not see God's hand in it but as you start looking back you can see God's hand in each step of your life. Where he showed you, sheltered you, and provided for you. I'm blessed with my students and my friends. It's just been a tremendous time," he said.

Anytime he is approached by a student at school or in the community, Parkerson is reminded of the influence that an educator can have on a young person. "I get a lot of recognition in the community, at the fair, and at school from kids who come up, say my name and hug me. The kids is what I'll miss the most. They keep you young and lively. I think the future for them is bright. When the final chapter is written and you go to face your maker and they put something on your tombstone, I'd rather be remembered as a teacher than anything else because a teacher is one of the most important persons in a child's life."

Danny and his wife Pat Parkerson reside in Alexandria. They have one daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and Jake Pyburn and a granddaughter, Marley Leigh Pyburn of Alexandria.

Tigers Fall to Warren County in Season Opener 34-30

August 23, 2014
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers lost their season opener to the Warren County Pioneers in Smithville Friday night 34-30.

The Tigers moved seventy yards in four plays to get their first points of the night. Quarterback Steven Jennings scored on a thirteen yard run with 10:29 left in the first period. Matthew Poss added the extra point and DC led 7-0.

Poss gave the Tigers a 10 point lead on the strength of a 28 yard field goal with 4:16 left in the first period.

Pioneer quarterback Christian Wilkinson put Warren County on the board on a five yard touchdown run with 1:04 left in the opening period. Evan Reynolds added the extra point and DeKalb County's lead was cut to 10-7.

DeKalb County extended its advantage with 10:21 left in the second period on a three yard touchdown run by quarterback Jennings. Poss added the extra point and DC led 17-7.

Warren County's Bryson Lewis burned the Tigers on a 73 yard touchdown run with 7:27 left in the second period. With the extra point, the Pioneers trailed 17-14.

Wilkinson threw for a 13 yard touchdown screen pass to Malik Ladet with 33 seconds left in the half and with the extra point the Pioneers got the lead 21-17.

In the third quarter Warren County struck again. Facing a 4th & 3, Rickie King broke free on a 60 yard touchdown run for a score and with the extra point the Pioneers stretched their lead to 28-17 with 8:08 left in the period

Wilkinson got his second TD of the night on a nine yard quarterback keeper with 3:26 left in the fourth period. The extra point attempt failed but the Pioneers were in command leading 34-17.

The Tigers scored two touchdowns late. Quarterback Jennings threw for a 29 yard touchdown pass to Jonathon Munoz with 1:10 left in the fourth period. Poss converted the extra point to trim the Warren County lead to 34-24.

DeKalb County scored on the last play of the game on a 34 yard touchdown pass play from Jennings to Munoz. The final score, Warren County 34, DeKalb County 30.

The Tigers will host Stone Memorial of Crossville in Smithville next Friday night, August 29 at 7:00 p.m. in Smithville. WJLE will have LIVE coverage on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE Streaming at www.wjle.com.

Join us for Coach to Coach with former Tennessee Football Coach Phillip Fulmer and former UT Assistant Coach Doug Matthews Friday's at 5:00 p.m. talking Tennessee football followed by Murphy's Matchups at 6:00 p.m. featuring the Guru of Tennessee High School Football Murphy Fair making his high school predictions with commentary and interviews, and then Tiger Talk at 6:30 p.m. featuring the voice of the Tigers John Pryor interviewing Tiger Football Coach Steve Trapp and several Tiger Football players. Coach to Coach also repeats on Saturday mornings at 9:00 a.m.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Climbs to 7.4% in July

August 22, 2014
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for July was 7.4%, up from 7% in June but well below the rate of 8.3% in July, 2013.

The local labor force for July, 2014 was 9,280. A total of 8,600 were employed and 690 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's Jobless Rate for July tied for second lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region.

Here's how they rank from highest to lowest:
Pickett: 11.2%
Van Buren: 11.1%
White: 9.5%
Clay: 9.4%
Jackson: 8.9%
Cumberland: 8.8%
Overton: 8.2%
DeKalb: 7.4%

County unemployment rates for July 2014 show the rate increased in 86 counties, decreased in five, and remained the same in four counties.

Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate in July at 6.3 percent, up from 6.0 in June. Knox County was 6.6 percent in July, up from 6.3 in June. The Hamilton County July rate was 7.8 percent, up from 7.2 in June. Shelby County was 9.0 percent in July, up from 8.8 in June.

Tennessee’s unemployment rate for July was 7.1 percent, five tenths of one percentage point higher than the 6.6 June revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for July was 6.2 percent, up from 6.1 percent in June.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Northside Elementary Named "Reward School"

August 22, 2014
Dwayne Page

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman have announced 168 schools including one in DeKalb County as the 2013-14 Reward Schools, the top 5 percent of schools in the state for academic achievement and the top 5 percent for annual growth.

Northside Elementary School is DeKalb County's 2014 Reward School for progress (high student growth).

DeKalb West School is among the 2015 Focus Schools due to an achievement gap in the Gap Pathway Subgroup of Students with Disabilities versus Non-Students with Disabilities.

The Reward Schools span 49 districts across Tennessee and include 90 schools that serve mostly economically disadvantaged populations.

“Tennessee teachers and students continue to show their dedication to teaching and learning,” Haslam said at an event held at Hazelwood Elementary in Clarksville, recognized for both its high overall achievement and strong growth. “Our Reward Schools are leading the state in progress and performance, and we are thrilled to recognize the extraordinary efforts of staff and students at these Tennessee schools.”

Schools are designated as Reward for performance for overall student achievement. This designation is determined annually by a one-year success rate. A success rate is calculated by adding together the total number of proficient or advanced students in each subject and dividing by the total number of test takers for each subject.

Schools are designated as Reward for progress, such as Northside Elementary, for having high student growth. This designation is determined by a one-year TVAAS school composite.

This year’s list recognizes 67 schools for overall academic achievement and 84 schools for annual value-added growth. The list also names 17 schools that earned both designations, rising to the top 5 percent for annual value-added growth while also ranking in the state’s top 5 percent for overall achievement.

In general, Focus Schools are the 10 percent of schools in the state with the largest achievement gaps between groups of students, such as racial and ethnic groups, students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, students with disabilities and English-language learners. More specifically, schools are designated as Focus Schools in one of three ways:

1. Gap Pathway: The school has one of the largest gaps in the State for the indicated subgroup.
2. Subgroup Pathway: The school has a composite proficiency rate below 10 percent for the indicated subgroup.
3. Graduation Rate Pathway: The school has a graduation rate below 60 percent.

These 10 percent of schools (Reward Schools) receive recognition for their success, and the department interviewed the 2013 Reward Schools to compile best practices for schools across the state. “Learning From The Best: Promising Practices from Tennessee’s 2013 Reward Schools” identifies themes and promising practices in leadership, instruction, and school climate. You can view the report online at http://tn.gov/education/data/doc/learning_from_reward_schools.pdf.

“We believe there are many lessons to be learned from these top performing schools. Every student deserves a school where they will be supported and challenged, and we are excited to share best practices that have proven successful,” Huffman said. “Because our accountability system recognizes growth and different starting points, we have enormous diversity in our Reward Schools.”

A complete list of 2014 Reward Schools is available here: http://www.tn.gov/education/data/accountability/schools_2014.shtml.

School-level achievement data is available here: http://tn.gov/education/data/tcap_2014_school.shtml.

Powerful Thunderstorm Hits DeKalb County Hard

August 21, 2014
Dwayne Page
Tree falls on top of Don Turner's home on Earl Avenue in Smithville causing extensive damage to the roof
Metal roof blown off Smithville Business Doc's Detail Shop on Bryant Street (Photo by Ken Underhill)
Metal Roof Blown Off Doc's Detail Shop on Bryant Street (Photo by Ken Underhill)
Don Turner covers his car after a tree fell on it breaking the rear window

Powerful winds from a severe thunderstorm caused widespread damage across DeKalb County Wednesday afternoon with downed trees and power lines in various locations.

Central dispatch received more than one hundred calls in the aftermath of the storm. No injuries were reported.

Due to the storm, students were kept at school for about an hour longer than normal for their safety.

Most of the damage was due to trees which had been uprooted or fallen in yards and across roads and utility lines. Some structure damage was also reported at several places.

In Smithville a tree fell onto the home of Don Turner on Earl Avenue causing extensive damage to the roof. Turner's car parked near the house was damaged and the rear window broken out from the fallen tree.

The metal roof on the building that houses Doc's Detail Shop on East Bryant Street in Smithville was blown off.

Roof damage was reported at Triple A Coatings in Smithville

High winds caused damage to the home of Victor and Debbie McMillen on Lower Helton Road near Alexandria.

Firefighters, utility crews, state and county highway department workers, and others were dispatched to the affected areas, many of them using chainsaws to remove trees which had blocked roads.


Arrest Expected in Convenience Market Burglary

August 20, 2014
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Smithville Police have theft and burglary charges pending against a suspect in a burglary last month at the On The Way Convenience Market on South Congress Boulevard.

Chief Randy Caplinger said the suspect broke the glass out of the front door of the business overnight on July 16 and stole some $3,100 in lottery tickets and cigarettes. An officer later drove by and noticed the front door glass had been knocked out.

The suspect is incarcerated on separate charges in Warren County. He has not yet been served with the warrants in this case.

29 year old Melinda Murphy is charged with two counts of forgery. Her bond is $10,000. Chief Caplinger said that Murphy allegedly passed forged checks in the amounts of $230 and $200 on the same victim at Region's Bank on July 16.

52 year old John Griswold of Nashville is charged with driving under the influence and possession of a handgun while under the influence. His bond is $3,000. Chief Caplinger said police were called to 825 North Congress Boulevard on July 24 on a report of a person passed out at the wheel of a parked vehicle. The responding officer found the driver passed out in the automobile with keys in the ignition. The officer awoke the driver, Griswold and spoke with him. Griswold said he was going from Collierville to Nashville and didn't know where he was. Griswold submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and he was disoriented and unsteady on his feet. Griswold told the officer that he had taken a narcotic pill earlier. He was arrested and taken to the hospital where he submitted to blood alcohol test. During the arrest, a handgun was found in his possession.

29 year old Michael Snyders is charged with theft over $1,000. His bond is $10,000. Chief Caplinger said that Snyders allegedly stole a 1999 Dodge Dakota Sport Truck from a Fall Creek Drive residence July 24 and wrecked it on Dry Creek Road.

34 year old Germain Aldino is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger said that Aldino allegedly assaulted his girl friend on August 2 at a residence on Short Mountain Street by throwing a 2 x 4 at her. He then got in her vehicle and drove away. Aldino was later found at another residence.

60 year old Larry Wayne Linder is cited for vandalism. Chief Caplinger said that on July 17 an officer was called to Federal Mogul where the owner of a vehicle reported that someone had scratched his automobile. Linder was identified as a suspect after officials viewed video from a surveillance camera. Damage to the vehicle was estimated at $700

28 year old Michael London is charged with theft. Chief Caplinger said that on July 16 an officer was called to Walmart on a shoplifting complaint. An employee said London was caught stealing property. When confronted, London allegedly admitted to stealing the items.

20 year old David Tyler Hutchings is cited for shoplifting and possession of drug paraphernalia. Chief Caplinger said that on July 16, Hutchings was observed at Walmart putting merchandise in his pants and walking out. Walmart Associates stopped Hutchings and he allegedly admitted taking the item. Police also found a used syringe in his pocket.

25 year old Joe Nathan Corbin of Huntsville, Alabama is cited for theft under $500. Chief Caplinger said that on July 24, police were called to O'Reilly Auto Parts to investigate the theft of stolen parts from the store. The responding officer received consent to search Corbin's car and found the parts. Corbin allegedly claimed that he had bought three parts at O'Reilly's and then stole three of the same kind of parts from the store. He later used his receipt to return the three parts he had purchased to get his cash back.

36 year old April Lee Hollingsworth is cited for simple possession of a schedule II drug (meth). Chief Caplinger said that on July 29, police were called to a residence on West Main Street to investigate a complaint of drug traffic at the house. The officer received consent to search from the owner and inside the bathroom closet, he found a pyrex dish with about three grams of a white powdery substance believed to be meth. The powder field tested positive as meth. According to Chief Caplinger, Hollingsworth admitted that the dish belonged to her and that the dish contained meth.

Motorists Urged to Use Caution Around School Buses

August 20, 2014
Dwayne Page

The most dangerous part of a school bus ride is getting on and off and if motorists don't stop for buses when they're supposed to the potential for a tragic accident increases.

Jimmy Sprague, Transportation Supervisor for the DeKalb County School System, said he is concerned that too many motorists are speeding, following buses too closely, and failing to stop when school bus lights and stop signs are deployed as students get off and on buses on roads, including four lane highways. Sprague said local and state law enforcement officers will occasionally be on board some of the buses to watch for violators.

"A major concern is on the four laned Highway 70. This road is considered a driveable median and when that bus activates its stop sign and red lights, all four lanes east bound and west bound do have to stop. They don't proceed on until the stop sign is pulled in and the lights are off and the bus is proceeding on. When that happens, vehicles can move along also," said Sprague.

The penalty for passing a stopped school bus is a class-A misdemeanor with fines ranging from $250 up to $1,000.

Tennessee law requires that:

Vehicles must stop before reaching a bus that has its flashing red warning lights and/or stop signal arm extended (B). Vehicles may not pass until the flashing red lights and signals are turned off.

Vehicles traveling in the same and opposite direction as the bus on an undivided road are always required to stop. (The four lane Highway 70 is an undivided highway and all motorists traveling in both directions must stop when a school bus stops to pick up and drop off children)

Vehicles traveling on a divided, or separated, highway do not have to stop when meeting or passing a bus on the other side of the road.

Drivers never pass on the right side of the bus, where children enter or exit. This is illegal and can have tragic results.

Don't tailgate a school bus. Follow at a safe distance.

Meanwhile after school programs have begun and for some students that means getting home later in the day. Sprague is asking parents of these students to be patient as bus drivers become familiar with the after school routes. "We'll get them home safely. Just bear with us because everybody is learning our routes on the After School Program. Please be patient. As we get further into it, the times will get better and be more consistent," said Sprague.

Alexandria Woman Dies in Wreck at Liberty

August 19, 2014
Dwayne Page
Sarah Clark
2009 Toyota Camry driven by 36 year old Sarah Clark
2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV driven by 41 year old Jeanne McMillan of Walling

Heavy rains Tuesday morning on Highway 70 at Liberty may have contributed to a traffic accident that claimed the life of a 36 year old Alexandria woman.

Dead is Sarah Clark.

Trooper Tommy Cooper of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that Clark was driving east in a 2009 Toyota Camry when, according to a witness, the car hydroplaned during heavy rains and crossed into the westbound lanes and into the path of a 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, driven by 41 year old Jeanne McMillan of Walling. The SUV struck the Toyota Camry in the passenger side. Both drivers were wearing their seatbelts

McMillan was taken by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was treated and released.

Clark was employed at the office of Dr. Cliff Duke, DDS in Smithville and she was apparently on her way to work when the accident occurred.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Extrication Team were summoned to the scene to help remove the victims. The Liberty Station also responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Trooper Cooper was assisted by Trooper Bobby Johnson and Trooper Christopher Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol


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