Local News Articles

DeKalb West Junior Beta Club Inducts 25 Members

September 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb West School Junior Beta Club members

Twenty-five new students were inducted into the DeKalb West School chapter of the Junior Beta Club on Monday night, September 8. The local club invites students in 5th-8th grades who excel academically with an A/B average. Receiving certificates honoring their accomplishment were the following: William Cain, Cayla Cantrell, Kayna Caplinger, Ty Curtis, Lane Davenport, Dakoda Eaton, Sarah Edwards, Taylor Ellis, Austin Frazier, Chasity Garrett, Katie Hall, Austin Hicks, Hanna Leach, Anna Malone, Keely McKay, Mary Belle Mofield, Megan Nichols, Alexis Nokes, Damian Payne, James Sherwood, Megan Strayn, Nathaniel Theriaque, Teddy Tippin, Morgan Vickers, and Hailey Walker.

DeKalb West School students got their groove on for charity September 12th for the Junior Beta Club’s second annual fundraising dance. The club brought in over 300-dollars for Relay for Life. Crystal Vickers, McKenzie Poteete, Sarah Edwards, Paige Lohorn, and Cassie Cain were the club’s leaders for the benefit dance. Payton Graves handled the music for the night.
The academic club will be raising money for its own cause over the next couple of weeks. Students will be selling Sonic cards) for 5-dollars each to help offset the costs of attending the Tennessee Junior Beta Club convention in Nashville in November. Club members will participate in a variety of academic, talent and arts and crafts events. Call Club sponsor Bill Conger at the school at 536-5332 to find out more about buying tickets.

Weekend Prisoner Caught Trying to Bring Drugs in the Jail

September 23, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A weekend prisoner was caught trying to bring drugs into the jail Friday.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 43 year old Roxanne Hendrixson of West Green Hill Road ,Smithville was checking into the DeKalb County Jail to serve weekends as the result of a court sentence, when a female correctional officer found in Hendrixson's bra 1 ½ pills believed to be seroquel. Hendrixson was charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution. Her bond was set at $5,000.00 and she will appear in court on September 24th.

Meanwhile, in other cases, on Sunday, September 14th, officers received a call about a vehicle that was weaving on Highway 56 South. A county deputy spotted the vehicle and ran the tag. The officer then stopped the vehicle for a traffic offense. The driver, 18 year old Lucio Romo of Short Mountain Highway Smithville was found to be driving on a suspended license. Romo's license was suspended for a charge of driving while impaired on June 22nd. Romo was arrested for driving on a suspended license and a state warrant for violation of probation was also served on him. Romo's total bond was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on October 2nd.

On Saturday, September 20th, deputies went to the home of 29 year old Benjamin Theodore Taylor of Troy Cripps Road, Liberty to serve a warrant on another person there. Taylor advised the officers that the person they were looking for was not there. Officers received consent to search Taylor's residence and found 3 peach colored pills believed to be Xanax lying on a dresser in the bedroom area of the residence. Taylor admitted to the deputies that the pills were not prescribed to him. Taylor was arrested for simple possession and his bond was set at $1,500. He will appear in court on October 9th.

Also on Saturday, deputies were summoned to Highway 56 South for an auto accident. Upon arrival they found 20 year old Amanda Brook Washer of 625 Ike Adcock Road Smithville to be the driver of the vehicle. Washer was driving a 1997 Honda Accord Southbound when she ran off the right side of the road and lost control hitting a utility pole. Washer was uninjured. Washer's driver's license was checked and came up suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on November 12th, 2006 in Wilson County. Washer was arrested for driving on a suspended driver's license and her bond was set at $1,000.00. She will appear in court on October 8th.

Board of Education Denies Request to Establish a New Elementary Basketball Program

September 22, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Board of Education, during a special meeting Monday night, denied a request to start a 4th & 5th grade basketball program for boys and girls at Northside Elementary and DeKalb West School this fall.

The board voted 6 to 1 against the proposal this year because funding for coaching supplements for such a program is not in this year's school budget. The board is expected to revisit the issue next year before the new budget is adopted. All voted no except for Sixth District Board member Bruce Parsley.

Principal Gayle Redmon says other school systems have an elementary basketball program and it would be good for the students and for school spirit. "We are proposing to start a basketball program for 4th and 5th grade students at Northside Elementary School. We've had quite a bit of parent interest in this particular program. We've talked with Mr. Willoughby for several months about the possibility of getting this program started. We've looked at costs. We don't want a real complicated program. We just want a simple program with a few games and maybe playing in tournaments. We've talked with coaches and schools in Putnam County, White County, and Warren County and all of those programs have elementary school basketball programs. We think it would be a good way for our students to learn basketball skills and learn to compete and learn to be good sports as well as promoting school spirit."

Redmon says there probably would have been no more than eight regular season games, four at home and four on the road, plus maybe some tournament games. No bus transportation would have been required since parents would transport the players on the road trips.

The initial request was made for Northside Elementary School, but had the school system given permission, DeKalb West School would have had the same opportunity to start a 4th & 5th grade basketball program there.

School Board Modifies Fuel Reimbursement Policy

September 22, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Monday night met in special session and voted to amend a policy giving some relief to groups who have to reimburse the school system for the cost of bus transportation to and from extracurricular activities.

The school board adopted this policy earlier this year, making it apply to all groups.

Under the policy, sponsors of field trips, athletic programs, the high school band, clubs, and other extra curricular activities are required to pay the bus driver, reimburse the school system for the cost of fuel, and pay for the cost of wear and tear on the bus.

The calculation was originally figured on the cost of fuel per gallon based on the last delivery costs, divided by average bus mileage of 6.5 miles per gallon, rounded to the nearest whole cent, and then doubled for the wear and tear of the bus, multiplied by the number of miles traveled.

Transportation employee Peggy Pursell said Monday night that actual mileage of one bus on a recent trip to and from a football game was checked and it came to eight miles per gallon. "We used a bus with a full tank of gas and when we got back, we filled it up again and we checked our mileage. We got between eight and eight and a half miles per gallon. So we're figuring at eight miles now. I bought fuel Friday from Harris Oil in Cookeville. I got 7,000 gallons and I only needed 5,000. Mr (Kenny) Edge took the overage. We bought the fuel for $3.08 and they delivered it today (Monday)."

Sixth District School Board member Bruce Parsley said Monday night, he believed assessing a cost for wear and tear was unfair. "My thinking is we've already paid for the buses. We shouldn't be charging kids again for wear and tear."

Seventh District Board member Johnny Lattimore responded that other school systems make a charge for wear and tear and that " looking at what other counties are charging, we are well under them."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby added that the policy is written so that the costs fluctuates as the price of fuel changes."The proposal that we passed made everything sort of on a sliding scale. If things cost more then the fuel per mileage and depreciation was going to cost more. Now it's less. In the beginning, when we were talking about this, it was going to cost over a dollar a mile and now we're down to 77 cents per mile so that part has gone down. Our policy for extracurricular activities for field trips is less expensive than the majority of school systems in our area. I know we're DeKalb County and we make our policies for DeKalb County but we do look at other places too to find out what's in line."

However, Third District member Kenny Rhody said the charge for depreciation of the buses is creating a financial hardship on some groups like the high school band program. "Some parents have talked to me and they have really been bothered by the costs. They said they would be doing good if they could pay for the fuel. Some of the parents expressed the same thing Mr. Parsley said that we bought these buses when they were new for the children and when they wear out we'll buy more new buses, but we bought them for our kids to use. They don't mind paying for the fuel, but the buses, they feel like they've paid for once, and are now being hit with another charge. It's enough on them to have to pay for the fuel. That's a big burden for them. If we just do the surcharge on the fuel and not have the additional fee for the usage and wear and tear, then if it goes over $4.00 a gallon, we could look at this policy again."

Board member Parsley made a motion that these groups pay only for the cost of the fuel and the bus driver on these trips to extracurricular activities, but that the charge for wear and tear be eliminated. Board member Kenny Rhody seconded the motion, but they were the only members voting for it.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson and members W.J. (Dub) Evins III, Johnny Lattimore, Joan Draper, and John David Foutch voted no.

Lattimore then made a motion that the cost for wear and tear be cut in half, which would currently make it 19 cents instead of 38 cents, and that the board take another look at the policy in January.

All voted in favor, except Parsley.

So the new formula will be as follows:
Divide the cost of fuel based on the last delivery, currently $3.08, by 8 miles per gallon and the cost is figured at 38 cents per gallon. Then add another 19 cents for the cost of wear and tear and the total cost per mile is 57 cents.

Rotary Fish Fry Raises Thousands of Dollars for the Community

September 21, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lowell Robinson, Alan Webb, Dot Estes, Brenda Cantrell, Stephanie Wyss, Katherine Pack, Dewain Hendrixson and Dr. Cliff Duke at Rotary Fish Fry
Clark Lance, Brenice Wright and Boyd Cantrell cooking at Rotary Fish Fry
Chad and Lynn Colwell and Kenny Wright help with cooking at Rotary Fish Fry

The Smithville Rotary Club raised thousands of dollars during their annual fish fry Saturday at Greenbrook Park and the money generated will go back to the community to help meet various needs.

Many prizes were also awarded to ticket holders including $1,000 in cash which went to Brett and Sherree Curtis of Smithville. Bruce Medley was the winner of $500.

Stephanie Wyss, President of the Smithville Rotary Club, says all available tickets were sold this year and she wishes to thank everyone for their support. "We raised somewhere between five and six thousand dollars this year. That's normally what we do every year. We sold all our tickets. We were just thrilled, especially with all the businesses that came out and supported us this year."

"What we normally do is return the profits to the community. We give away scholarships. For the high school seniors, we're giving three, $750 scholarships. We also put the money to use in various other ways as far as supporting kids sports teams, soccer teams, tee ball teams, and more. We just like to make sure that we give back to the kids. One of the big events that we do every Christmas is that we give food baskets to a lot of the elderly people that receive meals on wheels. We just enjoy those kinds of programs. We look for different ways to make sure those monies go 100% back to the community. We just like to stay available for needs that present themselves".

"One of the things we're going to be spending a lot of energy with this year is starting our Interact Club at the high school. We want to make sure that whatever resources they need, those kids have it. Interact is a high school version of a Rotary Club. It is for the kids and it's completely done by the kids. They choose their own community service projects and fundraisers. We're going to be there to support them to make sure that gets off the ground this year."

Wyss says the Rotary Club is always in search of good, active members. "We have eleven strong and faithful members and we are looking for anyone who has any interest in knowing a little more about Rotary. We meet every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. Feel free to come out and join us. Our location is on Golf Club Drive. We're right next to the tennis courts and across the street from the city pool."

Rotary is a worldwide organization of more than 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders. Members of Rotary clubs, known as Rotarians, provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

There are 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Clubs are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. As signified by the motto Service Above Self, Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world.

Man Charged In Assault of Estranged Wife and Another Person

September 20, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A woman visiting friends was assaulted by her estranged husband, who showed up at the residence last Tuesday. The man also attacked the owner of the home, who had come to the woman's aid.

James Edward Pack II of Agee Road, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault, domestic assault, especially aggravated burglary, simple assault, and unlawful possession of a weapon. His bond totals $27,500.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. of the Smithville Police Department says the man went to 167 Village Place where his estranged wife was visiting friends. He says the man tried to burst through the front door, but the people inside the house kept him from entering. The woman tried to flee through the garage, but her husband went around the house and through an open door to the garage where he caught up with the woman and began assaulting her.

The owner of the residence, who was outside, witnessed the attack and went to the woman's assistance, but he suffered a serious cut to his arm after Pack allegedly attacked him with a razored device.

Though seriously wounded, the man was able to restrain Pack until police officers arrived.

Pack was taken into custody.

Station Camp Defeats Tigers 51 to 27

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Station Camp Bison Spoiled Homecoming for the sixth-ranked DeKalb County High School Tiger football team, Friday night. The Tigers scored the first 13 points of the game, but Station Camp answered with 30 unanswered points and rolled to a 51-27 win over the Black and Gold.

DeKalb County struck first on a six yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Travon Johnson. John Curtis added the extra point to give the Tigers a 7-0 lead. DC came back on the very next drive and scored on a 26-yard pass from Poteete to Abram Edwards. The extra point attempt failed, but the Tigers had a 13-0 advantage with 3:21 left in the first quarter.

Station Camp took over from there, however, as Corey Alexander took the ensuing kickoff 82 yards for a score. Christian Reed missed the extra point, but the Bison was on the board with 3:04 left in the opening quarter. Hunter Tope scored on the next Bison possession on a 16-yard touchdown run. Jacob Hamblen added another touchdown on a six-yard run, with 8:09 left in the second quarter, which gave Station Camp a 20-13 lead. Reed booted a 26-yard field goal with 2:14 left in the half, which gave the Bison a 23-13 lead at the half.

Station Camp struck first in the second half, as Tope scored on a 61-yard run with 3:59 left in the third quarter, which gave the Bison a 30-13 lead after Reed's PAT kick. The Tiger offense answered on the next possession, as Poteete found Edwards on a 38-yard scoring pass, which shaved the Bison lead to 30-20, with 3:40 to go in the third. The Bison struck again on the following possession, as Top found the end zone again on a two-yard run, but DeKalb fought back on the ensuing drive, with Poteete and Edwards hooking up on a 63-yard pass play. Station Camp held a 37-27 lead that point, with 9:20 left in the fourth quarter.

The Bison took over from there, as Tope scored his fourth touchdown on a 20-yard run with 2:17 to go in regulation. Brandon Porch finished off the rout, as he picked off a Poteete pass, with 1:36 to go on the clock, and returned it 29 yards for another Bison touchdown. That gave Station Camp the final 51-27 advantage.

DeKalb County loses for the first time this season, and falls to 3-1 overall, while Station Camp improves to 3-2. The Tigers will travel to Woodbury to take on Cannon County, next Friday night, at 7:00 p.m.

Intoxicated Woman Found with Xanax and Valium

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 41 year old Liberty area woman was arrested by Smithville Police on drug charges Friday after she allegedly showed up intoxicated at a local business.

Patsy Darlene Fults of Pea Ridge Road, Liberty is charged with public intoxication and unlawful possession of a schedule IV controlled substance for resale.

Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. says Officer Travis Bryant was called to the business and encountered Fults, who had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. Upon a search incident to arrest, Officer Bryant found a pill bottle containing 32 and a half pills believed to be Xanax and 12 pills thought to be valium.

Fults, who had no prescription, told Officer Bryant that a friend had given her the pills.

School Spirit on Display during DCHS Homecoming Parade

September 19, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Junior Class Float Wins First Place
Shiroki North America- First Place Business Decoration
DCHS Homecoming Court

School spirit was on display Friday afternoon as students from DeKalb County High School celebrated the last day of Homecoming Week with a parade from the school to downtown.

The Tiger football team's homecoming opponent Friday night was the Station Camp Bison and each float in the parade had a Tiger versus Bison theme.

The parade featured the Homecoming Queen and her court, the DCHS Fighting Tiger Band, the Tiger Football Team, DCHS Cheerleaders, among others including many students who decorated their automobiles and drove them in the parade.

The Junior Class took first place for their float entry called "Tigers Barbeque the Bison" featuring a large smoking barbeque pit with a huge bottle of mustard, ketchup, and a picnic table.

Second Place went to the Senior Class for their float called " Tigers Bulldoze the Bison" featuring a big yellow bulldozer on a construction site.

The Freshman Class received third place for their float called "Tigers Bury the Bison" depicting a Bison bone field and a casket with tombstones representing the three teams the Tigers have already beaten this season.

The Sophomore Class float called " Go Tigers Sizzle Bison" won fourth place featuring a fire pit with a rotating Bison, large marshmellows, football field, and a goal post.

The FCCLA Club took fifth place for their float called "Tigers Tackle Bison's Camp.

Ashley Owen won first place in the best decorated automobile category. Brittany Cleveland took second place, and Nikita Young received third place.

Winners of the best decorated classroom doors at DCHS were: First place- Daniel Seber (Tiger Chef); Second Place- Lori Page (Barbeque the Bison); and Third Place- Larry Steffee (Bison Wings- All You Can Eat Buffet)

Winners of the best decorated business category were: First place- Shiroki North America; Second Place- Home Health Concepts; and Third Place- the law office of Sue Puckett Jernigan.

Federal Court Lawsuit Against City and Former Police Chief Dismissed

September 18, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Federal Court lawsuit, filed by Roy Ray, against former Smithville Police Chief Thomas J. Stufano and the City of Smithville has been dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Robert L. Echols has granted Stufano and the City's motion for summary judgment to which Ray, who was represented by Adam Parrish of Lebanon, failed to file responses.

According to court documents, "a party may obtain summary judgment if the evidence establishes there is not a genuine issue of material fact for trial and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. If the non-moving party does not so respond, summary judgment will be entered if appropriate."

Ray filed the lawsuit last year claiming he suffered injuries and that his civil and constitutional rights were violated during a misdemeanor traffic stop in February, 2007.

Ray had originally sought a jury trial and asked for compensatory and punitive damages along with his attorney's fees.

According to the memorandum, Ray filed this action claiming that Stufano used excessive force against him during an arrest on February 23rd, 2007 and the city failed to train and discipline Stufano and other police officers adequately in the prevention of excessive use of force. Ray also brought claims under state law for battery, negligence, and malicious prosecution."

Concerning his claims of excessive force, the court stated that "Ray bore the burden to prove that Stufano's use of force against him was unreasonable under the circumstances."

According to the court's finding, "Stufano pulled Ray over for tailgating his police car. While the crime Ray allegedly committed is not a particularly serious one, Ray's conduct upon being pulled over escalated an ordinary traffic stop into a more volatile situation. After stopping his truck, Ray got out and started walking towards Stufano's police car. Stufano observed a bulge in Ray's pants pocket, and Stufano believed the bulge was a gun. It turned out that Ray was, in fact, carrying a pistol in his pants pocket without a concealed weapons permit. Stufano believed Ray to be a threat to his safety and the safety of others in the vicinity, so he called for backup."

"According to Ray, when he got as far as the tailgate of his truck, he realized Stufano was angry and Stufano violently ordered him to go back to his truck and get in it. Stufano issued this order possibly twice before Ray retreated as far as the tailgate of his truck, where he leaned up against the tailgate looking at Stufano. Ray did not obey Stufano's direct order to return to his vehicle, but rather stood at the tailgate in defiance of Stufano's lawful authority. Stufano's order to Ray to return to the cab of the truck was reasonable considering Stufano had observed a bulge in Ray's pants that he thought to be a firearm. Concerned that his own safety and that of others was in danger, Stufano was forced to make a split-second decision about a proper course of action in light of Ray's resistance to a direct order and the lack of police backup to insure security at the scene."

"Stufano ran up to Ray, told him to put his hands on the tailgate of the truck, and swung Ray around so that Ray grabbed the tailgate. Stufano kicked Ray's feet apart, while Ray continued to talk to Stufano, asking what he had done. Ray says he was placed in an uncomfortable physical position and he felt his pacemaker wires pulling. Stufano then put Ray's left hand behind his back and pulled up on it in an effort to control Ray while he was waiting for police backup to arrive with handcuffs. When Ray continued to struggle, Stufano pulled Ray's arm higher. Stufano patted Ray down for weapons, which included a search of Ray's groin area, which Ray says caused him pain. Two officers arrived on the scene within two minutes of Stufano's call for assistance and Ray was handcuffed and taken into custody."

Ray was never charged with any crimes as a result of this traffic stop.

According to the court's findings, " Ray has not created a genuine issue of material fact for trial on his excessive force claim. Accepting that Ray experienced some pain and injury, not every push or shove at the scene of an arrest amounts to a constitutional violation and even an allegedly rough, intrusive, and hostile pat down search of the groin area does not amount to a constitutional violation if it was objectively reasonable for the officer to examine that part of the body for a concealed weapon in connection with a frisk."

"Having failed to respond to Stufano's summary judgment motion, Ray has not presented any evidence to contradict the defense expert's opinion that Stufano acted in an objectively reasonable manner in accordance with standard police procedure in light of the facts and circumstances facing him at the time. Thus, Stufano is entitled to summary judgment on the excessive force claim."

"The City is also entitled to summary judgment. Ray cannot hold the city liable on theories of failure to train, observing that he must first establish that the officer committed a constitutional violation before the municipality may be held liable for failure to train. There is no evidence in this record that the city failed to train Stufano."

"Having determined that Stufano and the City are entitled to summary judgment on Ray's federal claims, the court declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over Ray's state-law claims for battery, negligence, and malicious prosecution. Those claims will be dismissed without prejudice."

"For all the reasons stated, Ray failed to respond to the motions for summary judgment and both defendants have established that they are entitled to summary judgment as a matter of law. Accordingly, Ray's claims will be dismissed with prejudice and his state-law claims will be dismissed without prejudice in light of the court's decision not to exercise supplemental jurisdiction."

The city was represented by the attorney firm for the Tennessee Municipal League, L. Dean Moore, Daniel M. Rader III, Michael E. Clift, Walter E. Fitzpatrick III, Richard Lane Moore, and Daniel H. Rader IV.

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