Local News Articles

Alexandria Woman Accused of Stabbing her Boyfriend with Steak Knife

August 2, 2010
Dwayne Page
Amanda Lynn Vanatta
Billy Jason Lackey

A 28 year old Alexandria woman has been charged with aggravated assault for allegedly stabbing her boyfriend with a steak knife.

Amanda Lynn Vanatta of Arnold Lane, Alexandria will be in General Sessions Court on the charge August 5th. Her bond is $5,000

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a deputy was called to High Street in Alexandria for an assault on Wednesday, July 28th. Upon arrival, the officer learned that Vanatta had stabbed her boyfriend with a steak knife several times. He was treated for non life threatening injuries

Meanwhile in another case, 33 year old Billy Jason Lackey has been charged with simple possession of marijuana after allegedly throwing a bag of pot out the window of his vehicle as a county deputy was trying to pull him over Sunday, August 1st.

According to Sheriff Ray, the officer was in the process of trying to stop Lackey's vehicle on Highway 70 for a traffic violation when he saw a plastic bag come out of Lackey's car window

After making the traffic stop, Lackey allegedly admitted to throwing a bag of marijuana out of the window. Lackey's bond is $1,500 and he will be in court August 12th.

48 year old James Allen Hargrave of Four Seasons Road, Smithville was arrested on Saturday, July 31st and charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $2,000 and his court date is August 11th. While on routine patrol, a deputy spotted a vehicle driving recklessly on Bryant Street. Hargrave was pulled over and allegedly admitted that his drivers license were revoked. A computer check revealed that his license were revoked for a 2009 DUI conviction. He also has other offenses in DeKalb County.

31 year old Jason Richard Skaroupka was arrested on Sunday, August 1st and charged with evading arrest and driving on a revoked license. Skaroupka's bond is $15,000 and his court date is August 12th.

Sheriff Ray says an officer spotted Skaroupka on Old Snow Hill Road running through a stop sign and driving erratically. When the deputy turned on his emergency equipment, Skaroupka fled but was caught when he ran his vehicle off the roadway.

A computer check revealed that Skaroupka's license were revoked in DeKalb County and he has other offenses in Rutherford County.

Judkins Charged After Being Spotted during Burglary in Progress

August 2, 2010
Dwayne Page
Edward Lee Judkins, Jr.
John Allen Judkins, Sr

A DeKalb County man was arrested last Tuesday, July 27th after a witness spotted him at the scene of a burglary in progress in the Jefferson Community

25 year old Edward Lee Judkins, Jr. of Jefferson Road is charged with theft of property over $500, aggravated burglary, and vandalism less than $500.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray the witness apparently noticed a strange vehicle at the residence on Jefferson Road, stopped to investigate, and saw Judkins running away. Officers were notified and quickly arrived on the scene and found that someone had broken the door glass and made entry into the home. A weedeater, chainsaw, some horse drawn equipment (double tree), and an axe were taken from the home and loaded onto Judkins'vehicle.

Judkins was later arrested and charged in the case.

Meanwhile in a separate investigation, Judkins has been charged with criminal impersonation and leaving the scene of an accident, which occurred last month.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy was called to investigate a two vehicle wreck on Creek Road in the Keltonburg Community on July 12th. One of the persons involved in the accident told the officer that the driver of the other vehicle, who called himself Joe, left the scene. He was later identified in a photo line-up as Edward Lee. Judkins, Jr.

Total bond for Judkins in all the cases is $22,000 and his court date is August 5th.

Meanwhile, Judkins' grandfather, 74 year old John Allen Judkins, Sr. of Jefferson Road, Smithville has been charged with assault as a result of the burglary investigation involving his grandson. Bond for Judkins is $1,000. He was also issued a citation for failure to stop, halt, and frisk.

According to Sheriff Ray, while the deputy was enroute to investigate the July 27th burglary involving Edward Lee Judkins, he came upon a vehicle near the crime scene, occupied by John Judkins and other Judkins family members.

Knowing that Edward Lee, Jr. was a suspect in the burglary, the officer stopped the Judkins vehicle to make sure he wasn't in there. After making the traffic stop, John Judkins allegedly became upset. He began cussing and then raised his walking cane in a threatening manner toward the officer. John Judkins was arrested and charged as a result of the incident. Edward Lee Judkins, Jr. was not in the vehicle.

Meanwhile, in other crime news, 24 year old Amy Lynett Knowles of Jacobs Pillar Road, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule II controlled substance for sale and delivery under a sealed indictment returned by the April term of the Grand Jury. Her bond is $30,000. She was arrested on Monday, July 26th.

Sales Tax Holiday Coming this Weekend

August 2, 2010
Dwayne Page

The 2010 Sales Tax Holiday begins this Friday, and provides three full days of tax breaks on clothing, school and art supplies, and computer purchases. Visitwww.tntaxholiday.com or our new dedicated facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/TNTaxHoliday for detailed information on the holiday.

The holiday begins Friday, August 6 at 12:01 a.m. and ends Sunday, August 8 at 11:59 p.m. During the designated three-day weekend, consumers will not pay state or local sales tax on select clothing with a price of $100 or less per item, school and art supplies with a price of $100 or less per item, and computers with a price of $1,500 or less.

“Our Sales Tax Holiday not only helps families save on their back-to-school shopping but is a benefit for all Tennesseans, who are encouraged to take advantage of the timely savings," said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr.

An audio news release recorded by Commissioner Farr about the holiday is available at the Sales Tax Holiday Web site, www.tntaxholiday.com.

Please visit www.tntaxholiday.com to learn more about the items exempt from sales tax. The Tennessee Department of Revenue also assists consumers via e-mail, Salestax.Holiday@TN.gov, and through its toll-free statewide telephone hot line, (800) 342-1003. Staff is available to answer questions Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. (Out-of-state and Nashville-area callers, please dial (615) 253-0600.)

Examples of exempt items include:

· Clothing: Shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens, hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms whether athletic or non-athletic and scarves

· School Supplies: Binders, book bags, calculators, tape, chalk, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes, notebooks, paper, rulers and scissors

· Art Supplies: Clay and glazes; acrylic, tempera and oil paints; paintbrushes for artwork; sketch and drawing pads; and watercolors

· Computers: Central processing unit (CPU), along with various other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect components and preloaded software (Note: While the CPU may be purchased separately, other items must be part of a bundled computer package in order to be eligible.) iPad’s are eligible for tax exemption, video games and consoles are not.

Back to School

August 1, 2010
Dwayne Page
Students at Northside Elementary Board School Bus Monday

DeKalb County Schools re-opened Monday morning for registration.

The first full day of school for all students will be Tuesday, August 3rd. Wednesday, August 4th will also be a full day of school.

Thursday, August 5th will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

This year's school calendar is as follows:

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 6th.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 11-22 (The first week will be intersession)

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 24th, 25th, & 26th and for the winter break December 20th through December 31st. Friday, December 17th will be the last day students attend before winter break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Students will return after the holidays on Tuesday, January 4th to begin the third nine week session.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 17th and for President's Day, Monday, February 21st.

Schools will be closed for spring break March 21st-25th and for Good Friday, April 22nd.

Students will not attend on Wednesday, May 25th. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Thursday, May 26. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 5th and Tuesday, March 15th at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 7th and Thursday, March 17th at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

Report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 4th, Thursday, January 6th, and Monday, March 14th.

AYP-EOC/Gateway Testing at DCHS will be Tuesday through Thursday, December 7th-9th and May 3rd-5th at DCHS and a make-up AYP-EOC/Gateway Test will be Friday, December 10th and May 6th.

ACT Test for the 11th grade will be Tuesday, March 8th

Writing Assessment for the 5th, 8th, and 11th grades will be February 1st. Writing Assessment make-up will be February 2nd..

TCAP testing of elementary students will be April 13th-20th

(Stockpile Days) Professional Development/Instructional Days will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 2nd, Monday, January 3rd, and Friday, March 18th. Students will not attend on those days.

Election Day Thursday- Listen for Live Returns on WJLE

August 1, 2010
Dwayne Page

Voters will be going to the polls in DeKalb County Thursday to elect local public officials and to make their choices for state offices in the Tennessee Republican and Democratic Primaries.

The polls at all sixteen precincts will be open Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage starting at 7:00 p.m. You may hear the broadcast LIVE on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com. Subscribers of DTC Communications cable TV service may also hear the LIVE WJLE broadcast of the election returns on MyDTC3 Thursday night

The DeKalb County General Election features only one county-wide contested race, two contested district county commission races, and three contested district races for the school board.

Incumbent Republican Road Supervisor Kenny Edge will face Democratic challenger James D. (Jimmy) Sprague.

The contested county commission races are in the fifth and seventh districts.

Candidates in the fifth district are Republican Jerry Adcock, Democratic incumbent John Green, Democrat Bobby Taylor, and Independent candidate Lloyd Emmons. Two will be elected.

In the seventh district, the candidates are Democratic candidate Jimmy Poss, Democratic incumbent Larry Summers, and Independent candidate Richard Kinsey. Two will be elected.

The second, third, and fourth district school board races are also contested.

In the second district, Incumbent Charles L. Robinson faces a challenge from Jerry W. Johnson. Johnathan Willoughby will try to unseat Incumbent Kenny Rhody in the third district while in the fourth district, the candidates are Billy S. Miller and Larry Redmon.

School board candidates do not run as Republicans or Democrats, but as Independents.

Meanwhile, the following candidates on the DeKalb County General Election ballot are unopposed:

Circuit Court Judge Part 1: Amy V. Hollars.

District Attorney General: Randall A. York

County Mayor: Mike Foster

Trustee: Sean Driver

Sheriff: Patrick Ray

Circuit Court Clerk: Katherine Pack

County Clerk: Mike Clayborn

Register of Deeds: Jeff McMillen

County Commission (1st district):
Mason Carter
Elmer Ellis, Jr.

County Commission (2nd district)
Bobby Joines
Jack E, Barton, III

County Commission (3rd district)
Bradley Hendrix
Jerry Scott

County Commission (4th district)
Wayne Cantrell
David McDowell

County Commission (6th district)
Jeff Barnes
Marshall Ferrell

School Board Member (1st district)
John D. Foutch

School Board Member (7th district)
Johnny Lattimore

The general election ballot also includes two Judicial Retention Questions, asking whether Sharon Gail Lee shall be retained or replaced in the office as a Judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court; and whether John W. McClarty shall be retained or replaced in the office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Eastern Division.

Meanwhile, the three incumbent aldermen in the City of Dowelltown will be unopposed for re-election, Bradley Driver, Keith Farler, and Ronald Griffith.

Remember, if you wish to vote in one of the state primaries for Governor, State Representative, State Senator, or Congressman, you have to declare in which primary you intend to vote, Democrat or Republican. You cannot vote in both primaries.

Candidates for Governor in the Tennessee Republican Primary include Bill Haslam, Joe Kirkpatrick, Basil Marceaux, Sr., Ron Ramsey, and Zach Wamp.

Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District are Diane Black, Dave Evans, Gary Dewitt Mann, Bruce McLellan, Kerry E. Roberts, Jim Tracy, and Lou Ann Zelnik

Republican candidates for the Tennessee Senate in the 17th District are Incumbent Mae Beavers and challengers Gordon Borck, and Susan M. Lynn

Republican candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th District is Incumbent Terry Lynn Weaver.

Republican State Executive Committeeman 17th district candidates are C. Brent Baldwin, Albert B. McCall, Sr. and Bob Ousley. One can be nominated.

Republican State Executive Committeewoman 17th district, Susan C. Witcher.

Meanwhile Mike McWherter is the only candidate for Governor in the Tennessee Democratic Primary.

Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District are Henry Clay Barry, Devora E. Butler, Brett Carter, George T. Erdel, and Ben Leming

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee Senate in the 17th District are Aubrey T. Givens, Sam Hatcher, and George McDonald

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th District are James C. Hale and Jamie Winkler.

David R. Harper is the only Democratic candidate for State Executive Committeeman in the 17th District.

Two Democratic candidates, Mary A. Patterson and Baylor Bone Swindell are seeking the position of State Executive Committeewoman in the 17th District.

Another Light Turnout for Early Voting

August 1, 2010
Dwayne Page

More people voted early for the August 5th elections than for the May 4th DeKalb County Democratic Primary, but not by much.

The election commission reports that a total of 1,389 persons took advantage of early voting from July 16th through July 31st in DeKalb County. That compares to 1,149 who cast ballots during the two week period of early voting leading up to the May 4th DeKalb County Democratic Primary.

According to Dennis Stanley, administrator of elections, 528 people voted in the Tennessee Republican Primary and 733 in the Tennessee Democratic Primary. A vast majority of those people also voted in the DeKalb County General Election, but 85 voted only in the general election, opting not to cast ballots in either state primary. Twelve people voted early in the uncontested Dowelltown Municipal Election.

Here's how the vote breaks down by districts in the county:
First district: 138
Second district: 162
Third district: 280
Fourth district: 253
Fifth district: 203
Sixth district: 142
Seventh district: 211
TOTAL: 1,389

Election day is Thursday, August 5th.

First Day of School Education Celebration Set for Monday Evening

July 31, 2010
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow
2009 First Day of School Education Celebration

The Fifth Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Monday, August 2nd from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th Grade, says the event is free and all parents and students are urged to attend to help kick off the new school year. "Our goal is to provide an evening of activities, education, and enjoyment for the residents of DeKalb County. We will be having information booths, passing out school supplies, refreshments, and various activities for the students to participate in while promoting education."

"This will also provide a time for our teachers and parents to come together to build a foundation for new and positive relationships, right from day one."

"Our First Day of School Celebration is an opportunity for our schools to take a leadership role in re-enforcing and improving relationships among parents, teachers, students, and the community. This is the one day each year when it is both easiest and most important to enlist families as partners in our children's education. This is a great time for us to engage our families and make them feel welcome into our schools."

"So come out and join us. Everything is free that evening. We'll have free school supplies, free food, snacks and lots of community people coming together to make this event possible."

"I want to thank the many volunteers who put in hours and hours getting this event ready for our children. Jennifer Mitchell, Jamie Vickers, Pamela Poss, Angela Johnson, Suzette Barnes, Melissa Pirtle, Gina Denman, Lisa Norton, Danielle Collins, and Kelly Garrett are on the Education Celebration committee."

"There are many volunteers, churches, and organizations that come together to make this event possible for our children so they are able to start school with new supplies and a great positive attitude."

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 597-4084.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the fun downtown Smithville on Monday, August 2nd.

County Planning to Address Problem of Stray Dogs and Cats

July 31, 2010
Dwayne Page
Dogs at the Animal Shelter

Funds are included in the proposed new county budget to hire an animal control officer, at least on a part time basis, to pick up stray dogs and cats.

County Mayor Mike Foster says $20,000 has been included in the new budget to fund the position. "We're anticipating hiring a full time, or at least a part time, employee to do that (pick up stray dogs and cats). I'm sure we don't get near as many calls as the city does, but we do get some calls that need to be answered."

"We're going to need some policies in the event of a dog bite where the animal can be quarantined for ten days and make that the standard policy. That needs to be addressed."

" We have a lot of elderly people who have dogs that come to their house that are strays and we just need a way of dealing with it in a humane and orderly way with some rules and regulations."

" I think the position would be part time. We don't really know for sure. It depends on how many hours that are actually required and what the call volume is but what we have in mind is to use that person for a lot of other things (in addition to picking up stray animals). If he or she is not doing something (picking up strays), they'll be working somewhere else, either at the landfill or at the jail, or somewhere. They won't be sitting over there (at the animal shelter) waiting for the phone to ring but they'll have some other job to do."

The strays would be kept at the animal shelter just off Smith Road in Smithville.

Smithville Woman Charged with Stealing Items from Truck

July 30, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a woman with stealing items from a truck parked at Food Lion last week.

24 year old Tracy Ann Thomason of 446 The Loop was arrested on Wednesday, July 28th for burglary and theft of property. On Thursday, July 22nd, Lieutenant Steven Leffew took a report from David Elliott who stated that he had parked his truck in Food Lion's parking lot. When he returned to his truck he found a female inside. Elliot asked her what she was doing. The woman then got out of his truck, got into a blue car, and left. Elliott took down the plate number of the car. He also noticed that his Ipod and other items were missing. While conducting a follow up investigation, Detective Matt Holmes spoke with Ms. Thomason and she admitted to taking the items from Elliott's truck and selling them. Bond for Thomason is $6,000 and her court date is August 12th.

36 year old Jason Bradley Cripps of 774 Four Seasons Road was arrested on Friday, July 23rd for simple possession of a schedule II drug, theft under $500 and driving on a suspended license. K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow responded to DeKalb County Ace Hardware to investigate a complaint of a possible shoplifter. Cripps allegedly confessed to the theft and took Officer Tatrow and Detective Matt Holmes to where he had disposed of the items in an attempt to conceal them. Cripps gave Officer Tatrow verbal consent to search his person and two small pills believed to be oxycodone in an unmarked pill bottle were found in his left cargo pocket. Cripps also stated that he had driven to Ace Hardware and a computer check of his license revealed them to be suspended. Bond for Cripps is $4,000 and his court date is August 19th.

38 year old Rey David Ceniceros of 322 West Broad Street was arrested for assault on Wednesday, July 28th. Lee Willfido informed Corporal Travis Bryant that he had been in an altercation with Ceniceros over a civil matter. Ceniceros allegedly chased Willfido from the parking lot to the rear of the apartment building. During the altercation, Willfido suffered a cut over his left eye. Bond for Ceniceros is $1,000 and his court date is August 19th.

33 year old Brandy Mae Egerton of 396 Page Drive was arrested on Thursday, July 29th for simple possession of a schedule II drug. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was called to Wal-Mart to investigate a complaint of a possible shoplifter. Upon speaking with an employee of Wal-Mart, Officer Tatrow learned that Egerton had taken a bottle of fingernail polish. When confronted, Egerton said she did not take anything from Wal-Mart. She gave Officer Tatrow permission to search her vehicle and purse. During the search, Officer Tatrow found the fingernail polish in Egerton's purse and it was returned to Wal-Mart. Also recovered from Egerton's purse was a pill bottle filled with assorted pain medication and a metal pill fob containing four yellow pills believed to be oxycodone. Bond for Egerton is $1,000 and her court date is August 19th.

Meanwhile, anyone having information on crimes is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

Sometime between 9:00 p.m on Saturday, July 17th and 6:00 a.m. on Sunday, July 18th someone went to Green Brook Park and vandalized the playground by throwing paint on the equipment, turning picnic tables over and breaking a Dogwood tree. The damage is estimated to be around $1000.

On Sunday, July 25th Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to Caldwell's Drug Store at 511 West Main Street as the business alarm was going off. Officer Davis discovered that an unknown suspect(s) had attempted to break out the front door glass and the window at the drive thru. No entry was made and the owner of the business was contacted to secure the business.

On Monday, July 26th Lieutenant Steven Leffew was dispatched to Johnny's Drugs at 516 West Main Street for an attempted breaking and entering. An unknown suspect(s) had tried to pry open the back door causing damage but no entry was made. The owner stated the incident occurred sometime after noon on Saturday.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Hurricane Bridge Rehab due for Bid Letting This Fall

July 30, 2010
Dwayne Page
Jennifer Flynn

The rehabilitation of the Hurricane Bridge under the state's bridge bonding program is due for construction bid letting sometime this fall according to the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

Jennifer Flynn, Community Relations Officer in the Chattanooga TDOT Office told WJLE Friday that the exact date for the bid letting has not been set but will be sometime this fall. "We're currently scheduled to let the bridge rehab project sometime in the fall of this year. We're in the process of getting our permits and everything all in order to let that project. The rehabilitation project will replace the deck at the bridge. New guardrails will be installed and it will strengthen the steel structure underneath and make the bridge a lot safer and it won't have to be weight posted anymore upon completion of the project. The estimate (to do the work) is $12 to $15 million right now but we won't really know until the bids are opened on the project and let to contract. It's part of the bridge bonding program."

The rehabilitation of Hurricane Bridge is among the projects to be funded through TDOT's Better Bridge bonding program in the fiscal year 2010-11 state budget, which was approved by the legislature this year.

Meanwhile the county will continue to fund "flaggers" at Hurricane Bridge until the state begins work on the bridge.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the proposed new county budget includes $25,000 for this expense.

Since April 15th, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has posted a "flagger" on each end of the bridge to monitor traffic across the bridge, which has state posted weight limits.

Any vehicle (trucks, school buses, emergency vehicles, etc) above the posted weight limit are subject to being stopped Mondays through Fridays from 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on both ends of the bridge to allow one truck to come across the bridge at a time.

In January, the DeKalb County Commission approved a plan to provide the "flaggers" through at least September and to apply for a state grant to help recoup the county's costs.


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