Local News Articles

Smithville Police Charge Two Men with Theft of Property from Local Industry

January 15, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged two men with theft of property belonging to a local industry.

34 year old Melvin Leon Crips, Jr. of 148 Winter Drive and 39 year old Tracy Lynn Haynes of 529 Frazier Street were arrested Wednesday, January 13th by Detective Jerry Hutchins and charged with theft of property over $500 and $10,000. Police say around January 9th, several pieces of welding equipment and power supplies were stolen from Tenneco's (Walker's) warehouse at 415 Miller Road. On January 11th, maintenance manager, Johnny Pridmore reported to Officer Matt Farmer that he was informed that some of Tenneco's equipment may be at Ivy Bluff Salvage. Pridmore went to Ivy Bluff Salvage and found equipment belonging to Tenneco. Pridmore returned to the warehouse on January 11th to find a truck with a bumper trailer attached. On the trailer were two items belonging to Tenneco. He approached the men in the truck and requested their names and asked what they were doing. The driver stated his name was Melvin Crips. While Mr. Pridmore called the police, the two men unloaded the two items off the trailer and left. After further investigation, Detective Hutchins arrested Crips and Haynes. Bond for each is set at $27,500. Their court date is March 8th.

57 year old Elizabeth Anne Puckett and 31 year old Stephen Shea Puckett both of 362 Smith Road, Smithville and 36 year old Jena Vantrease of 502 Madison Drive, LaVergne were charged Friday, January 8th for disorderly conduct. Officer Matt Holmes made the arrests. Bond for each is $1,000. They will be in court on February 4th.

20 year old Farron Lee Hendrix, II of 823 Riley Avenue and 20 year old Carrie Leanna Cooper, of 366 Imperial Drive, Sparta were arrested Friday, January 8th for simple possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. 20 year old Gary Heath Robinson of 3460 Coconut Ridge Road was also arrested for unlawful possession of a weapon. Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 630 Miller Road, Apartment C-19 in answer to a complaint of loud music and possible drug use. During a search of the residence, police found Hendrix and Cooper hiding in the bathroom. Marijuana and drug paraphernalia were found behind the shower curtain. Others were present in the apartment and while Officer Davis and Sergeant Joey Jones were checking them for illegal drugs, Robinson asked if they wanted his pistol. He handed Officer Davis a 9mm Hi-point semi automatic pistol. Robinson told WJLE that the police account of the pistol incident is incorrect. He says officers asked everyone present if they had anything they were not supposed to have. Robinson told them he had a pistol and the officers asked him to turn it over to them. Bond for each was set at $2,500 and their court date is February 4th.

On Tuesday, January 12th, K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow cited 29 year old Crystal Margaret Berninger of 104 Highland Drive for simple possession.

On Thursday, January 14th, Corporal Travis K Bryant cited 41 year old William A Cantrell of 299 Redman Road for shoplifting. While in Wal-Mart, Cantrell took off his old shoes and put on new shoes belonging to the store and put his old shoes back in the box. His court date is February 4th.

42 year old Billy Joe Cripps and 40 year old Staci Lynne Cripps of 398 South College Street were arrested Friday, January 15th by Sergeant Randy King for child neglect. According to the report, Officer King responded to the corner of East Main Street and Highway 56 North in response to a small child walking alone next to the road. The caller reported that the child had been picked up by someone in a white mini-van. Upon arrival, police spoke with witnesses Jeanie Poss and Todd VanDyne who reported that the child was first seen walking east on Don Cantrell Way and then toward Highway 56 and East Main Street. Poss picked up the child until police arrived. Both witnesses said that the child told them that he was told to get out and find his own way to school. The outside temperature was approximately 30 degrees. The child was not wearing any socks when he was picked up. The youngster was taken to Smithville Elementary School by Lieutenant Steven Leffew.

42 year old Doyle Edwin Mooneyham and 51 year old Melba Olline Finley both of 957 Manus Town Road, Woodbury were arrested Friday, January 15th by Sergeant Randy King and Officer Matt Farmer. A call was dispatched to NHC concerning a possible public intoxication and drug traffic. Upon arrival, police saw four persons. Sergeant King spoke with Mooneyham who was unsteady on his feet and had an odor of a fermented beverage about his person. Sergeant King asked Mooneyham if he had been drinking. Mooneyham replied that he had drunk one beer. Sergeant King then asked him if he had taken any medication. Mooneyham said he had taken his medication earlier and produced three prescription bottles. Mooneyham was arrested at that time for public intoxication. During this time, Officer Farmer was questioning and searching three other people at this location. A small blue football shaped pill with GG over 258 on one side of it was found on Melba Finley. Ms. Finley stated that it was a Xanax and that she had a prescription for it but she could not produce a prescription for the pills. Finley was arrested for simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. Bond for each was set at $1,000 and they will be in court on February 11th.

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

On Friday, January 8th, Ronnie Walker, an employee of the City of Smithville reported to Corporal Travis Bryant that someone had busted out the back window and kicked in the door to the guard shack at Green Brook Park. Walker stated that the last time he knew the guard shack to be intact was on Wednesday, January 6th. Walker said damage had to have occurred sometime on or after that date.

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

School Board Approves H1N1 Vaccination Clinics

January 14, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Deanna Pursinger answering question about H1N1 clinics at School Board meeting

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night approved a proposal by the Upper Cumberland Regional Health Office to set up school clinics to administer H1N1 vaccinations. A team of nurses and health department staff will be manning the clinics

In order for children in the school system to receive the immunizations, their parents or guardians would first have to complete and sign a form, giving permission. The immunizations will be free of charge.

Deanna Pursinger, School Health Coordinator, says she is still waiting on confirmation from the health department but tentative dates for the clinics are Tuesday through Friday, February 16th- 19th and the following Monday through Thursday, February 22nd-25th. She says the hope is to complete visits to all the schools in the county in a week or less.

Pursinger says the school system, nor the board of education would be held liable since "children are covered through malpractice insurance through the health department, just the same as if they went to the health department themselves."

The vaccinations would not just be available to children. Pursinger says others could receive the immunizations as well. " Not only is this H1N1 flu vaccination and or mist available to our students, its also available to any adult, faculty or staff member, a younger sibling, or parents as long as they fill out the form. They (health department) are going to have plenty of vaccinations while they are at the school so anybody can get this for free. There's no cost, they just have to fill out the form and sign it."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says he hopes this is the beginning of a stronger partnership with the health department. "We would hope that this is a bridge in order to work with the health department even more in administering immunization shots and things like that, especially for our pre-school kids and kindergarten kids, so hopefully by doing this we can be building a bridge to work more and more with our health department in the future."

A consent form and the following letter will be sent to parents and guardians from the Upper Cumberland Regional Health Office:

"As you may have heard, a new influenza virus, called the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, was first identified in the United States in late April 2009. The virus has caused illness ranging from mild to severe, including hospitalizations and deaths in adults and children. Many children have gotten H1N1 infection and there have been large outbreaks in some schools across the country. Flu is unpredictable and activity can rise and fall throughout the season, but flu is likely to continue for months, caused by either 2009 H1N1 viruses or regular seasonal flu viruses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has recommended that children and young adults be vaccinated against H1N1."

"Vaccination is the best way to protect your child from this potentially serious disease. The health department is working with your child's school to give the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine to children at school. A vaccination clinic will be held at your child's school in the month of January or February 2010. Please complete the consent form along with your signature giving permission to vaccinate your child."

"Children under age 10 need two doses of vaccine spaced one month apart to provide adequate immunity. Only one dose is required for children age 10 and older or for children that obtain the first dose at age 9 and will turn 10 before the second dose is due. If your child meets the criteria for a second dose, it will also be administered at school to fulfill the requirement. There will be no cost to you for this vaccine."

"If you have any questions about the vaccine or the vaccination clinic, please call your local health department from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Please visit the CDC's H1N1 web site at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/and http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/parents for information especially for parents.

Board of Education Adopts 2010-11 School Calendar

January 14, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix urges parents to check report cards

The DeKalb County Board of Education formally adopted the school calendar for the 2010-2011 year Thursday night. The monthly meeting of the board was held at Smithville Elementary School.

Registration for all students will be Monday, August 2nd. That will be an abbreviated school day from 7:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

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.

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.

A system wide professional development day will be Monday, July 26th at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to DCHS from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27th . All teachers will then report to their individual schools Tuesday, July 27th from noon until 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday, July 28th & 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

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.

In other business, DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix issued an appeal to parents to take a look at your sons and daughters report cards, which were released Thursday. "We passed our report cards out today. Parents, please look at those report cards. If there are any incompletes or grades that aren't up to passing, please encourage your sons and daughters to get to the guidance office and get signed up for credit recovery or the Tiger Academy, whatever it is they need to do. Senior parents, make sure you look at those report cards. If they (students) need these classes to graduate, you need to be checking to make sure they get all this work completed and get their credits because we want everybody to graduate on time."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby updated the board on personnel moves since last month.

The following were employed:
Tamara Murphy, RN, substitute school nurse
Janice Tanner, LPN, substitute school nurse
Deborah Knowles, Educational Assistant (Job Coach) DCHS
Dustin Estes and Martha Conger Hale as substitute teachers
Brittany Willoughby, Spanish teacher at DCHS
Seth Roberts, Spanish teacher at DCHS
Rebecca Hawkins, substitute bus assistant
Jeanette Allen, Health Occupations teacher DCHS

Transfers:
Mary Foutch, transferred to full time cafeteria position at SES
Wanda Bradford, transferred to part-time cafeteria position at DCHS

Resignations/Retirement:
Linda Dean, Spanish teacher DCHS retired

In other business, the board of education adopted a resolution expressing appreciation to Food Service employees.

The resolution states as follows:

WHEREAS, food service workers rise early every school day to provide a nutritious breakfast and lunch for students and staff in our schools; and

WHEREAS, many of them dish out advice, encouragement and good humor along with the nutritious meals they serve daily; and

WHEREAS, food service personnel create a friendly atmosphere in our schools by demonstrating a positive, upbeat attitude with warm greetings and smiles to students and staff; and

WHEREAS, they do their best to prepare healthy and tasty meals with limited budgets and food products supplied in bulk by the USDA; and

WHEREAS, they display patience and understanding as students anxiously crowd the service line; and

WHEREAS, they consistently give priority to student health, welfare and safety; and

WHEREAS, our cafeteria staff members work hard without complaining and faithfully show up to work every morning through whatever weather may present itself; and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby declares January 14, 2010 as Food Service Personnel Appreciation Day in DeKalb County Schools; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Board expresses deep appreciation and heartfelt thanks to all food service workers in our school system; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Board encourages all staff, students and parents to join with us in expressing appreciation for the outstanding contribution our food service staff has made and continues to make to the success of our school system and to the lives of our students.

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby read a proclamation by Governor Phil Bredesen designating January 24th-30th as School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee.

The proclamation reads " Whereas, an excellent public education system is vital to the quality of life of our communities; and

Whereas, school board members represent a tremendous resource as local decision makers, responding to the challenges of creating 21st Century schools that meet Tennessee's higher education standards; and

Whereas, school board members serve their communities by representing the interests of school children and preparing them for the future; and

Whereas, the men and women elected by the people as members of our local school boards deserve recognition and thanks for their countless hours of service to public education in Tennessee;

Now, Therefore, I, Phil Bredesen, Governor of the State of Tennessee, do hereby proclaim the week of January 24th-30th as School Board Appreciation Week in Tennessee and encourage all citizens to join me in this worthy observance."

Local Election Commission Pleased with State Senate Vote to Delay Voting Machines Law

January 14, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
 Dennis Stanley and Walteen Parker

The DeKalb County Election Commission has expressed its pleasure with a vote in the State Senate this week to delay implementation of a bill that would have required the purchase and use of optical can voting machines.

The State House had voted last spring to delay the bill.

"To change voting machines will be extremely costly and is really unnecessary," said DeKalb County Election Commission Chairperson Walteen Parker. "We applaud the move to delay this bill until the 2012 November election."

Optical can machines scan or "Read" a voter's paper ballot and millions of dollars in taxpayer money will be required to equip the state's 95 counties with the new devices. In addition, there will be increased costs due to the printing of paper ballots and the storage of both the machines and ballots.

"Just four years ago the state required the purchase of new voting machines that record votes electronically, and they are working as advertised. There is no need to go to a new machine that, in essence, takes ys back in time with the use of paper ballots," she continued.

"We have numerous security steps in place to assure ballot integrity with the current machines and the use of paper ballots will simply increase the opportunity for fraud in the voting process."

Parker also explained this is not a partisan issue, at least on the local level. She said the county election commission, which consists of two democrats and three republicans voted unanimously to oppose the immediate implementation of the bill. The DeKalb County Commission also voted late last year to ask the state legislature and Governor Bredesen to delay implementation of the bill.

"We want to thank the County Commission, State Senator Mae Beavers, and others who supported delaying this bill," she added. "Without them, we would be spending an unnecessarily large amount of money in tough economic times. We hope the Governor will sign the delay until 2012 into law."

Meanwhile, Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said this week petitions are now available for local school board candidates and those who wish to run for State Representative or State Senator.

School board seats are considered "non-partisan" and candidates run in the August County General Election. This year, school board seats in five districts are up for election. School board candidates must file proof of graduation from high school or receipt of a G.E.D., evidenced by a

Diploma or other documentation satisfactory to the election commission prior to the qualifying deadline, which is noon, April 1st.

State candidates can run in either the Republican or Democratic Primaries also held in August, and the qualifying deadline is also at noon on April 1st. The same qualifying deadline applies to Independent candidates for a state legislative seat.

Sparta Woman Involved in Wreck Sues Smithville and Two City Employees

January 13, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Allison Long Dodge Durango
Smithville Garbage Truck in February 2009 Wreck

A 34 year old Sparta woman, who was involved in a traffic accident with a city garbage truck on Highway 70 east near Sligo bridge almost a year ago, has filed a circuit court lawsuit against the City of Smithville and the two men in the truck, Ronnie Walker and Jerry Rackley.

Allison Long is asking for a jury trial and seeks a judgment against the defendants including compensatory damages in the amount of $500,000, cost and disbursements incurred, pre-judgment interest and post-judgment interest in amounts allowed by law, and such other general relief to which the court deems just and equitable.

The accident occurred on February 27th, 2009. After investigating the mishap on that day, Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol told WJLE that 57 year old Ronnie Walker of Smithville, a city employee, was operating a 1999 freightliner garbage truck going west on Highway 70. Another city employee, 39 year old Jerry Rackley of Smithville, was a passenger in the truck. The two were apparently returning from the landfill where they had dumped a load of garbage. Long was going east on Highway 70 in a 2007 Dodge Durango.

According to Trooper Jennings, Long claims as she was negotiating a curve coming down the hill, she saw the garbage truck in her lane. As she applied her brakes, the Durango slid on the rain slick highway and struck the side of the truck at an angle in the westbound lane. Long's vehicle came to a final rest in the ditchline facing a rock wall. The truck continued west for a few feet and also went off the road in the ditchline and struck the rock wall.

Walker and Rackley were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Long was to have gone to the Cookeville hospital by a private vehicle.

Neither of them were believed to have been seriously injured.

Trooper Jennings says Walker was cited for failure to exercise care.

In the lawsuit, Long claims she was in her proper lane of travel, observing the posted speed limit, and was operating her vehicle in a safe and prudent manner and that Walker or Rackley were operating the truck, belonging to the city, within their scope of employment.

Long says as a result of the negligent and lack of due care of the defendants and their failure to properly supervise and control the truck, it crossed into her lane of traffic and collided head on with her vehicle resulting in damages to her Durango and serious bodily injuries to her.

Long alleges that she was required to seek and obtain medical care and treatment for her injuries, sustained a loss in her earning capacity, incurred expenses, suffered mental and physical pain and a reduction in the enjoyment and quality of life. In addition, Long is suing the defendants for all damages permitted by law for her personal injury and property damage, including but not limited to past and future medical bills, past and future mental and physical pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, mental and emotional distress, past and future loss of earning capacity, lost wages, permanent injury, and all other damages permitted by law.

Liberty Man Charged with Two Burglaries

January 11, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Joseph Daniel Richardson
William Timothy Brown
Crystal Fults
 Clent Lee Shehane

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged a Liberty man with breaking into two homes on Clear Creek Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Joseph Daniel Richardson of Church Street, Liberty was arrested Thursday, January 7th on two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft of property under $500. Detectives charged Richardson after an investigation into two break-ins that occurred on Clear Creek Road in Liberty. On New Year's Day Richardson entered the home without the owners consent. Once inside, he took a container of money and jewelry from the home. Then on Wednesday, January 6th Richardson entered another home without the owners consent. Once inside, he took a Play Station 2, a controller, one Play Station 2 game, and two cell phones. Bond for Richardson was set at $20,000 and his court date is set for February 4th.

29 year old William Timothy Brown of Dry Creek Road, Smithville was arrested Friday, January 8th for filing a false report. Detectives allege that on Wednesday, January 6th Brown staged an armed robbery at his home. Brown placed a call to 911 stating that two men came into his home and that one man had a knife and the other a crowbar. Brown said the men asked if he had a gun. According to Brown the two men rummaged through his home. Brown, who had injuries on his head and on one of his arms, went to the hospital to seek treatment. Meanwhile, on Wednesday, January 6th when detectives sat down with him to do an interview, Brown admitted that he had made up the incident. Brown said he did it because he wanted attention from his family members. Brown added that he staged the scene in his home and ran his head first into the door facing and then again with his arm causing injuries to himself. Bond for Brown was set at $2,500 and will be in court on February 4th. Filing a false report with law enforcement is a felony in Tennessee.

On Sunday, January 10th, deputies were called to break up a fight on Old Bildad Road, Smithville. Upon arrival, they found 23 year old Salomon Diaz in an intoxicated state in the complainant's yard. Diaz was unsteady on his feet, had an odor of alcohol on his person, and had slurred speech. Diaz was charged with public intoxication and his bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on February 17th.

Also on Sunday deputies stopped a vehicle on Village Place Street in Smithville for a traffic violation. Upon entering the vehicle, the officer noticed that a passenger and the driver were trying to hide something. The driver, 30 year old Crystal Fults of Blue Springs Road, Smithville was asked for consent to search. During the search, the officer saw Fults take a non prescription bottle from her purse and place it into the seat of the vehicle. The deputy confiscated the bottle which contained sixty seven Hydrocodone pills. Fults admitted that she did not have a prescription for the drug. Fults was charged with possession of a schedule III controlled substance (Hydrocodone) for resale. Her bond was set at $5,000 and she will appear in court on January 28th.

24 year old Clent Lee Shehane was arrested Saturday, January 9th for failure to appear to serve weekends. He was also charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license, and possession of drug paraphernalia after he was stopped on Restview Avenue in Smithville. A deputy spotted Shehane and was aware of a state warrant against him for failure to appear. Shehane was under a court sentence to serve weekends in the DeKalb County Jail but he did not show up to serve all of his time as directed by the court. The deputy ran a check of Shehane's driver's license and discovered they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on December 6th, 2004. During a frisk down search before being placed into the patrol car, officers found a used hypodermic needle and a cut straw containing residue which were in Shehane's jacket pocket. After Shehane was taken to the jail and placed in a holding cell waiting to be booked, he vandalized the jail's fire sprinkler system. Shehane was further charged with vandalism. Bond for Shehane was set at $10,500 and he will appear in court on January 28th.

Meanwhile the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is reporting a total of 7,326 incident calls from January 1st to December 31st, 2009, which is up by 790 calls from 6,536 during the previous year. That is over 20 calls per day and 666 calls per deputy for the year, according to Sheriff Ray.

He adds that these incident responses are dispatched calls, not self-initiated calls (incidents that officers respond to on routine patrols). Self-initiated calls are not included in these counts:

The following is a break-down of incident call responses in 2009:
Wrecks- 752
4 wheeler calls- 46
911 calls- 204
Abandoned Vehicles- 45
Animal calls- 268
Assaults- 53
Fires- 178
Break-ins- 244
Burglar Alarms- 556
Child Custody Exchanges- 29
Children in roadway- 7
Civil Matters- 33
Debris in roadway- 54
Disturbing the peace- 126
Domestic violence- 390
Drug trafficking- 36
Escorts- 128
Extra Patrols- 27
Fights- 112
Funeral Escorts- 173
Gas drive-offs- 15
Harassments- 45
Indecent exposure- 8
Investigations- 209
Vehicle lockouts- 800
Medical Assists- 295
Missing Persons- 41
Phone harassment- 17
Possible D.U.I.- 153
Problems with neighbors- 36
Prowlers- 69
Public Intoxication- 17
Rape- 1
Reckless Drivers- 314
Recover Property- 33
Robbery- 1
Seizures- 17
Shots fired- 86
Shop lifter- 5
Stolen property- 208
Stolen vehicle- 54
Stranded motorists- 80
Someone threatened- 132
Suspicious persons/vehicles- 485
Traffic Hazards- 100
Trespassing- 21
Unruly juveniles- 30
Unwanted guests- 129
Vandalism- 147
Vehicle fires- 22
Wanted Persons- 46
Welfare checks- 192
Miscellaneous- 57

Two Smithville Police Officers Receive Commendations from City Officials

January 11, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Two Smithville Police Officers, Matthew W. Holmes and Corporal Travis K. Bryant, have received commendations from city officials.

Holmes' commendation states that "On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as a police officer."

"Recently you have conducted several criminal investigations including: aggravated robbery, rape and felony theft resulting in numerous arrests and the recovery of stolen property."

"Your determination and efforts in the continued performance of your duties exemplify your outstanding work ethic. Your actions enables the citizens of Smithville and your fellow co-workers to know that the Smithville Police Department is continuously striving for quality service. You have served with distinction. You are a credit to the Smithville Police Department. I appreciate your current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your personnel record."

Bryant's commendation states that "On behalf of the City of Smithville Police Department, I would like to commend you for your recent actions and diligent efforts in your capacity as Corporal."

"On December 13th, 2009 you responded to an automobile accident on Bright Hill Road, involving a vehicle that had overturned and landed upside down in a large body of water. With temperatures, nearing freezing and without hesitation, you entered the swift traveling water to render aid to the driver which was trapped inside the overturned vehicle."

"Your noble action enables the citizens of Smithville and your fellow co-workers to know that the Smithville Police Department is continuously striving for quality service. You have served with distinction and valor. You are a credit to the Smithville Police Department. I appreciate your current performance and for that you are hereby formally recognized and commended with a copy of this commendation becoming a part of your personnel record."

The commendations were signed by Lieutenant Steven Leffew, Mayor Taft Hendrixson, and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks.

Senator Alexander to seek Federal Appropriation to Replace Sligo Bridge

January 11, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander

DeKalb County may get some federal help in replacing Sligo bridge.

A spokesman for U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said Friday, during a meeting with State Senator Mae Beavers and State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver at their offices in Nashville that efforts will be made to include the Sligo bridge project in the federal highway re-authorization appropriation, which must be passed by Congress and signed by the President. If approved, the bridge would be replaced, totally by federal funds. He says the Senator must first obtain some information from local officials before he can proceed with the request. "What we have coming up is the Highway Re-authorization Appropriation, and what Senator Alexander needs help with is, he needs some forms filled out to help us get in a position where he can submit a request for the $30 plus million dollars that are necessary to pay for the full bridge. The goal is to get this process moving so when the time comes to complete the highway bill, within the next six to twelve months, that Sligo bridge is in a good position to receive those federal funds."

Since Sligo bridge would be specifically included as a priority project in the bill, funds for it could not be diverted for other purposes. "This process would actually be spelled out in law and signed by the President. The way it works is it would be spelled out in the bill and voted on. It's a high priority project and would be listed so in the federal law. It's not that TDOT would not be involved in the actual construction because they would, but they would be required by law to work on it", according to the Alexander spokesman.

Meanwhile, $1.5 million has already been allocated for repairs to the existing Sligo bridge and for right of way acquisition under an appropriation sought by Senator Alexander last year. "There's already been $1.5 million appropriated for this project. It's under bridge repair so part of it will be used for right of way. The other part will be used for the repair of the existing bridge in order to keep it open so school buses won't have to drive around (take alternate routes). They could still keep the bridge active. That's really what that first slug of money is for. That was in the FY 2010 Senate Transportation Appropriation.", according to the Senator's spokesman.

Representative Weaver says she is grateful for Senator Alexander's help on this project "Being that it's a high priority project and that the money will definitely go to this project, that's very exciting to me because this is a specific request. I appreciate(Senator Alexander's representative) coming from Washington to our offices to get us up to snuff on where we are on it. I'm just excited that it's going to happen. We've always said it was. I want to again clearly state that I did not vote against the bridge. I'm also a believer that good things come to those people who wait. We have been working on this under the radar. We've been cooperating with local officials as well. We invited the mayor to be here this morning. I'm a team person and it takes a team to work on such a big project. I can't thank Senator Beavers enough and Lamar's office for coming out and us working on this. We are working together for the good of the people of DeKalb County and to keep this bridge open while the new one is being constructed. Again, I want to emphasis that we are working very hard. This is a high priority project. Washington now sees it as that so it's all good news."

State Senator Beavers added " A list of questions has been presented to us that they (Senator's office) needs answered. We're going to have to look to the locals to help us answer some of these questions, so we'll be getting in touch with them. We're excited to know that Senator Alexander is working with us and trying to help the people of DeKalb County. We'll continue to work on this project. We'll continue to work with all of our officials to get what we need."

Senator Alexander announced last August that he was seeking funds for Sligo bridge. The news release stated that "Federal funds for Sligo Bridge are included in a federal appropriations bill making it's way to the United States Senate"

Senator Alexander announced that the Fiscal Year 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee, includes significant funding for a number of mass transit, roadway, and airport improvements across Tennessee. The bill must now be considered by the full Senate" (which has now been approved)

In the August news release, Senator Alexander said the bill includes" $1.5 million for DeKalb County for the replacement of the US-70 bridge. Funding will be used to repair the US-70 bridge in DeKalb County. The current bridge is structurally sound, but was built in 1947 and is in serious need of repair. It is the only bridge across Center Hill Lake on the eastern end of DeKalb County and the only way for school buses and traffic to cross from the other side of the lake."

"This legislation funds important initiatives to improve transportation and economic development in Tennessee," Alexander said. "As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I will continue working to ensure that Tennessee's federal tax dollars are used wisely to create jobs, upgrade our state's roadways and enhance the quality of life in our communities."

The FY10 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill includes funding for the following projects:

· $6 million for the Tennessee Public Transportation Association for statewide mass transportation programs. Funding will be used to purchase and improve mass transit systems across the state of Tennessee – including busing and light rail. Improved mass transit will reduce congestion in Tennessee's cities as well as help provide hospital transportation for rural Tennesseans.

· $1.5 million for Nashville International Airport for runway reconstruction. Funding will be used to upgrade a runway at Nashville International Airport so it can better accommodate larger freight and passenger aircraft to meet the air transport demands for Nashville, one of the South's fastest growing cities.

· $200,000 for Cocke County for improvements to Waterville Road. Funding will help repair the Waterville Road in Cocke County which is heavily impacted by tourists visiting the Great Smoky Mountains National Park which is partly within county limits.

· $1 million for the City of Gallatin for improvements to Airport Road. Funding will be used to redirect the airport road to make additional space for an expanded runway to accommodate increasing commercial aircraft traffic.

· $785,000 for the City of Jackson for improvements to East Chester Street. Funding will be used to improve East Chester Street and help spur redevelopment of East Jackson. East Chester Street was devastated by a tornado in May 2003.

· $1.5 million for DeKalb County for the replacement of the US-70 bridge. Funding will be used to repair the US-70 bridge in DeKalb County. The current bridge is structurally sound, but was built in 1947 and is in serious need of repair. It is the only bridge across Center Hill Lake on the eastern end of DeKalb County and the only way for school buses and traffic to cross from the other side of the lake.

Alexandria Woman Dies in Sunday Morning Wreck

January 10, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
 Lisa Hallmon

An Alexandria woman died Sunday morning when her car struck a DeKalb County garbage truck on Highway 70 near Sligo bridge. Central dispatch received the call at 6:54 a.m.

Dead is 47 year old Lisa A. Hallmon of 123 Avant Circle, Alexandria.

Trooper Mark Jones of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Hallmon was driving a 1988 Cadillac east on U.S. 70 (going down Sligo hill) when she crossed the center line while negotiating a curve. Hallmon's car sideswiped a 2007 Peterbilt dump truck (county garbage truck), driven by 56 year old Danny E. Green of 1575 Haley Road, Smithville who was traveling west (going up the hill).

According to Trooper Jones, the truck over road or partially ran over Hallmon's car and then veered off the right side of the road and crashed through a guardrail, before coming to a stop. Sources say the truck came dangerously close to plunging off the side of the hill.

County Mayor Mike Foster later told WJLE that Green had gone to the landfill to pick up an empty garbage container and was returning to take the container to the Snow Hill convenience site to trade it for a full container. The truck apparently had no other cargo at the time of the accident.

Hallmon's car went off the right side of the road and into a ditchline

Trooper Jones says Hallmon, who died at the scene, had to be extricated from her vehicle by members of DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication Team.

Green was reportedly taken by private vehicle to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Jones, Trooper David Slatton, and Sergeant Kevin Norris of the THP Critical Incident Response Team. Others on the scene were DeKalb EMS and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Highway Patrol investigated another accident on Sunday. This one occurred off Coconut Ridge Road in the Williamson Lane, Hurricane Point subdivision area. Central dispatch received the call at 3:01 p.m.

Trooper Todd Logan says 58 year old Nancy Zamora and her husband 52 year old John Zamora of 270 Rutherford Lane, Smithville were in a 2005 Dodge Dakota, being driven by Mrs. Zamora going up the road on a steep hill, which was also snow and ice covered. The truck began sliding backward and went off the road over the side of the hill, about ten feet down.

Mr. Zamora apparently escaped injury and got out of the truck on his own but Mrs. Zamora, who was hurt, needed assistance.

Because of the condition of the road, emergency personnel had to use four wheel drive vehicles to get to the scene. Mrs. Zamora was brought out and taken to meet an ambulance where she was transported to DeKalb Community Hospital.

In addition to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, members of the Cookeville Highway Station of the DeKalb County Fire Department, the DeKalb County Rescue Squad, the DeKalb County Fire Department's Extrication and Rescue Team, and the Sheriff's Department were on site along with DeKalb Tire and Service.

Martin Named County Firefighter of the Year

January 10, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Firefighter of the Year Jimmy Martin-
County Fire Department Officer of 2009 Lieutenant Anthony Boyd
County Fire Department Rookie of 2009 Bradley Johnson
County Fire Chief Donny Green Receives Award for 15 years of Leadership
County Firefighter Danny Parker Receives Honorary Liftetime Membership (Photo Provided)

Jimmy Martin of the Main Station on King Ridge Road was named "County Firefighter of the Year" Saturday night during the department's annual awards banquet held at the Smithville Church of God annex.

County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony, said Martin met all the department's criteria in earning this award. "Jimmy was selected by the committee for his excellence in training attendance, incident response attendance, and community service. Jimmy's involvement in our department and our community shows that a volunteer firefighter can portray a professional image in the fire service just as well, or better, than a paid career firefighter."

Lieutenant Anthony Boyd received the "Officer of the Year" award. Chief Green says the same three elements used to select the "Firefighter of the Year" are also used by the department in honoring the Officer of the Year, training attendance, incident response attendance, and community service. "Lt. Boyd is a valuable asset to our department. Not only does he set an excellent benchmark for the evaluated categories, Anthony performs countless hours of "behind the scenes" service to the department. He data loads all the fire department's incident reports, maintains incident and training attendance records, and various other record keeping functions. Lt. Boyd takes care of issuing equipment to firefighters and has assumed the role of laundering all the department's personal protective clothing to keep it in good condition. We have a very talented and dedicated group of officers and Anthony is one that makes the DeKalb County Fire Department operate very smoothly."

The "Rookie" award went to Bradley Johnson of the Main Station on King Ridge Road. Chief Green says this award is totally based on hours of training and goes to a firefighter in his first year of service to the department. " Bradley has attended the 64-hour Basic Firefighters School, the 22-hour Live Burn School, completed the TARS Vehicle Rescue Training, and completed several specialized training courses through the Tennessee Fire and Codes Enforcement Academy. His level of commitment and dedication to our department is obvious and Bradley's training examples is one that we want other recruits to follow."

Meanwhile Danny Parker of the Johnson's Chapel Station received a twenty year service pin and along with an "Honorary Lifetime Membership Award." Lieutenant Michael Lawrence was presented a pin for ten years of service, and Captain Mark Young, Calvin Tramel of the Midway Station, Jeremy Neal of the Short Mountain Highway Station, and Tim Pedigo of the Blue Springs Station were recognized for five years, each receiving a pin for their length of service.

Chief Donny Green was presented a special award for his fifteen years of service as county fire chief and for the work he has done to upgrade and improve the services of the department over the years. The award was presented by his fellow firefighters.

Several members of the department were also presented gift certificates and cash awards, funded through a federal safer grant, which Chief Green says is to help retain and recruit firefighters."In 2008, we were awarded a Safer Grant from the federal government that is a non-matching local grant and does not require any local funding, it's 100% federal, to help us recruit and retain firefighters. Some of the things we've done is provide these training award incentives for firefighters such as length of service awards, firefighter of the year, rookie of the year, and for firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training or at least 75% of their monthly training. We've made those awards and we hope that's a tool we can use to help encourage our firefighters to stay on board and continue being involved with training in our department." Firefighters who made 100% of their monthly training each received $400 and those who made 75% of their monthly training took home $200 each.

DCFD members receiving 2009 Training Incentive Awards are as follows:

100% Attendance: ($400 awards--*prorated for members with 100% but less than one year of service)
Duncan Block
Anthony Boyd
Jay Cantrell
Kyle Casper
Billy Crymes
*Nelson Davis
Donny Green
Anthony Johnson
Bradley Johnson
Darrell Johnson
Donnie Johnson
Jerry W. Johnson
Michael Lawrence
Ronald Merriman
Roy Merriman
Brad Mullinax
Bob Myracle
*Jason Neal
Jeremy Neal
Dale Pack
Steve Phillips
Shawn Puckett
Howard Pyles
Steve Repasy
Richard Roberts
*Bradley Taylor
Calvin Tramel
C.J. Tramel
Hugh Washer
Jeff Williams
Chris Wyke
Mark Young

75% Attendance: $200 awards--*prorated for members with 75% but less than one year of service)

*Lee Ansel
Jeff Bogle
Joseph Bowen
Justin Brooks
Kelley Cantrell
*Kevin Cripps
Larry Dalton
Billy Fuson
Corey Killian
Dick Kinsey
Danny Parker
Tim Pedigo
Jimmy Martin
Kenny Maynard
Jeff Rankhorn
*Eric Snow
*Luke Tucker

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