Local News Articles

Division of Consumer Affairs Prepared to Investigate Allegations of Gas Price Gouging

September 13, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The effects of storm systems active in the Gulf Coast are now being felt by Tennesseans at the gas pump. Prices for fuel have risen dramatically and the State is offering consumers information on how they can report possible price-gouging.

Governor Bredesen Friday addressed the issues surrounding gasoline supply in Tennessee, warning individuals and businesses who engage in gasoline price-gouging that “we will be very tough and very aggressive on people who take advantage of this situation. I hope people do not try to capitalize on the effects of these storms at the expense of Tennesseans, who are already struggling with high gas prices.”

“We are taking this very seriously,” said Leslie Newman, Commissioner for the Department of Commerce and Insurance. “Under Tennessee law, price-gouging is illegal and we will be working with the Attorney General’s office to aggressively pursue anyone who violates that law.”

It was anticipated that gas prices would rise with hurricane activity in the Gulf Coast, where a substantial portion of the country’s gas supply is produced. The Division of Consumer Affairs warns consumers to be on the lookout for potential price-gougers.

Consumers may contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at www.tn.gov/consumer or call at 615-741-4737 or toll-free at 800-342-8385, to report incidences of suspected price-gouging. Consumers will need to provide the name of the gas station, address and the price and grade of the gas being sold. Consumers may also report suspected price-gouging online to the federal government at http://gaswatch.energy.gov/.

Meanwhile, Congressman Bart Gordon has issued a statement on dramatic rise in gas prices

"Throughout the day, already too expensive gasoline prices have been dramatically rising. I have contacted the Tennessee Attorney General and asked him to be especially vigilant in protecting consumers from price gouging.

To help maximize fuel supplies, I contacted the Environmental Protection Agency and asked them to grant the waiver requested by Governor Phil Bredesen to allow retailers to begin selling the fall blend of fuel before the September 15 start date.

After we get through this interruption in supply and increase in price, we need to use every tool available to alleviate the pain consumers are feeling at the pump. That includes maximizing our domestic oil and gas production and working on new energy technologies.

If anyone has specific complaints about fuel prices at an individual location, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance Consumer Affairs is the appropriate agency to register their complaint. The public can call this 800-number: 1-800-342-8385 or visit the Consumer
Affairs Web site to make a complaint online at www.tn.gov/consumer."

McMinnville Police Officer from Smithville Facing DUI Charges

September 12, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bryan Officer

A McMinnville police officer from Smithville, who was seriously injured in a pickup truck wreck two weeks ago, while off duty, is facing several charges including driving under the influence.

Bryan Officer has been charged with DUI, possession of a handgun while under the influence, violation of the implied consent law, violation of the open container law, and not wearing a seatbelt. He was formally charged after turning himself in at the Sheriff's Department this morning (Friday).

Officer has reportedly been recovering at home from the injuries he received in the accident, which occurred on Friday night, August 29th on Highway 70 east at Sligo Hill.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Officer was traveling west in a 1988 Chevy pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, overcorrected, and overturned. The truck came to rest upright on it's wheels. Officer was ejected from the vehicle. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and later transported to Vanderbilt Hospital in Nashville.

According to a report in the Southern Standard, McMinnville Police Chief Charlie Sewell is saying that the department will wait until the allegations against Officer move through the system before any action is taken. Officer, who is currently on medical leave, has been working as a patrolman for the McMinnville Police Department for about a year.

Gas Customers Line up to Fill up at the Pumps

September 11, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gas Customers Line up Late into the Night at Kwik-N-Ezy
Motorists at Mapco Express Wait their Turn at the Pumps

With news reports that the threat of Hurricane Ike hitting the Gulf coast could push gasoline prices to record levels in the coming days, local residents began lining up at local convenience markets Thursday to fill their tanks.

In Smithville, Mapco Express, Kwik-N-Ezy, and DeKalb Market kept busy late into the night with lines of gas customers.

According to news reports, Exxon Mobil Corp., Valero Energy Corp., ConocoPhillips and Marathon Oil Co. were among the companies halting operations at refineries on the Texas coast, primarily in the Houston area, because of the approaching Hurricane.

Refineries along the upper Texas Gulf Coast account for about one-fifth of the nation's refining capacity. Exxon Mobil's refinery in Baytown, outside Houston, is the nation's largest.

The wholesale price for gasoline produced on the Gulf Coast jumped to record levels between $4 and $5 a gallon Thursday, a spike some analysts attributed to "panic buying" over Ike's potential to disrupt fuel supplies.

The Gulf accounts for about 25 percent of domestic oil production and 15 percent of natural gas output.

School Board Receives TSBA "Board of Distinction" Award

September 11, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
School Board Receives TSBA Award

The DeKalb County Board of Education has been recognized by the Tennessee School Boards Association for earning the "Board of Distinction" honor.

The award was presented to the Board of Education during Thursday night's school board meeting.

James Mann, a director of the TSBA and a member of the Montgomery County School System, made the presentation.

In his remarks, Mann explained how local school boards become TSBA "Boards of Distinction." "Wishing to spotlight outstanding board performance, the Tennessee School Boards Association created it's Board of Distinction program to recognize the highest standards of performance by a board as a whole."

"This award is one of TSBA's most prestigious. It celebrates the achievements of those boards that have met the challenge of leadership in every area of their board responsibility."

"To be designated as a Board of Distinction, a school board must meet specific requirements in four key areas. Those areas are "planning", "policy", "promotion", and "board development". These areas include such elements as creating five year plans, reviewing and maintaining their policy manual, participating in TSBA district and state meetings, conducting a self evaluation, and participating in achieving and maintaining necessary boardsmanship levels for each member."

Mann added that this is a very prestigious award and not every school board qualifies to receive it. "Your board is among a selected few. On behalf of the Tennessee School Boards Association, I am very proud to present the Board of Distinction Award to the DeKalb County Board of Education."

The award is good for two years and the school board will have to continue to meet the guidelines in order to maintain Board of Disctinction status.

(Pictured left to right: Director Mark Willoughby, John David Foutch, TSBA Director James Mann, Johnny Lattimore, Kenny Rhody, Charles Robinson, W.J. (Dub) Evins III, and Bruce Parsley. Not pictured- Joan Draper who was absent)

Robinson Named Chairman of School Board

September 11, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kenny Rhody, W.J (Dub) Evins III, Charles Robinson

Second District School Board member Charles Robinson was elected Chairman of the Board of Education Thursday night.

The board re-organizes each September, naming a chairman, vice-chairman, and an assistant secretary.

Robinson succeeds Fifth District Member W.J. (Dub) Evins III who has served as chairman for the past year.

Evins was named Vice-Chairman and Third District member Kenny Rhody was elected Assistant Secretary for the year.

Chairman Robinson welcomed Bruce Parsley to the board. Thursday night was Parsley's first meeting with the board as a member from the sixth district. "He brings some experience as a parent and a former student of this school system and I think he will be an asset to the board."

Robinson also congratulated Kenny Rhody for reaching level 4 in the TSBA boardsmanship program. Under the program, board members may work on achievement in meeting certain goals and criteria in moving up to level 5.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his monthly report on personnel to the school board.

Those employed for the 2008-09 school year since last month are as follows:

Penelope Mason, 21st century site coordinator
Joannie Williams, school nurse
Mary Beth Ramsey, teacher, SES
Darnette Hibdon, bus driver
Sherry Williams, substitute custodian
Wanda Bradford, substitute cook
Angela Patrick, substitute cook
Sharon Washer, substitute cook
Elizabeth White, substitute cook

Substitute Teachers:
Ellen Ammons, Guylene Atnip, Suzette Barnes, Rebekah Beck, Jennifer Braswell, Carolyn Caldwell, Nancy Cantrell, Jenny Cantrell, Todd Cantrell, Pat Cook, Donna Davis, Tina Evans
Debbie France, Holly Frazier, Leanne Frazier, Robbie Frazier, Johnna Goff, Doris Graham
Natalie Green, Vicki Haggard, Amber Hawkins, Connie Henry, Darnette Hibdon, Shirley Ingram
Angela Johnson, Kelley Johnson, Jennifer Judkins, Martha Knowles, Milinda League, Mironica Luna, Joel Moore, Eden Nokes, Elizabeth Nolt, Angela Osment, Gayle Pack, Susan Palmer
Krystal Patterson, Iva Dell Randolph, Phyliss Reed, Kimberly Rhea, Tammy Rhea, Beth Rhody, Jessica Sims, Teresa Spencer, Tammy Turner, Wanda Sue Vickers, Tom Werling, Susan West, Helen Wilson, Jean Young, Kim Young, Nancy Young

Anna Johnson was granted a leave of absence as requested

Those who have resigned include Penny Bileyu, Angela Johnson, and Jalene Vanatta

Those who have transferred are:
Diana Moon, sub teacher to educational assistant at SES
Tonya Roberts, SES educational assistant to DWS
Jill Herron, teacher, DMS, replaces Penny Bileyu
Lisa Hale, educational assistant, replaces Jalene Vanatta as secretary at DeKalb West School.

In other business, the board approved one time supplement pay in the amount of $1,000 for full time educators who obtain National Board Certification. That's for the 2008-09 school year.

Director Willoughby says a "differentiated pay" plan is required by the State Department of Education and must be approved by October.

Alexandria Woman Charged with Tenn Care Fraud

September 11, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Shelly F. Beene

A DeKalb County woman is charged with TennCare fraud for obtaining prescription medications with TennCare benefits, with the intent of selling the drugs.

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today announced the arrest of 27 year old Shelly F. Beene of Alexandria. Beene was arrested on an indictment accusing her of fraudulently obtaining a prescription for the painkiller Hydrocodone, using TennCare to pay for the prescription, with the intent of selling a portion of the pills.

"The illegal trafficking of prescription drugs has been a problem in Tennessee, and we are no longer tolerating it in the TennCare program," Inspector General Deborah Y. Faulkner said. "Enrollees who participate in selling drugs paid for by TennCare - and those who buy them - should understand this is a serious crime we intend to prosecute."

TennCare fraud is a Class E felony carrying a sentence of up to two years in prison. Acting District Attorney General Anthony J. Craighead is prosecuting.

The OIG, a law enforcement agency separate from TennCare, began full operation in February 2005 and has worked cases leading to the arrest of over 760 individuals for TennCare fraud, with nearly $1 million paid in restitution to TennCare, and total estimated cost avoidance in TennCare of over $122 million, according to latest figures.

Through the OIG Cash for Tips Program established by the Legislature, Tennesseans can get cash rewards for TennCare fraud tips that lead to convictions. "Anyone can report suspected TennCare fraud by calling 1-800-433-3982 toll-free from anywhere in Tennessee, or log on to www.tncarefraud.tennessee.gov and follow the prompts that read "Report TennCare Fraud."

Kara Elizabeth Young Named DCHS Homecoming Queen

September 10, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kara Elizabeth Young
DCHS Homecoming Queen and Attendants

The 2008 Homecoming Queen at DeKalb County High School is Kara Elizabeth Young.

She is the 17 year old daughter of Ronny and Nancy Young of Smithville.

The Homecoming Attendants are:

Senior Attendant -Rosemary Neal Apple, the 17 year old daughter of Nick and Claire Apple of Smithville;

Senior Attendant- Macy Celeste Felts, the 18 year old daughter of Kendra and Rick Guinn of Smithville and the late Chuck Felts.

Junior Attendant- April Michelle Hale, the 16 year old daughter of Kevin and Judith Hale of Smithville.

Sophomore Attendant- Lauren Brooke Adcock, the 15 year old daughter of Wayne and Brenda Adcock of Smithville.

Freshman Attendant- Heather Marie Hughes, the 14 year old daughter of Mike Hughes and Shawnn Meadows of Smithville.

DCHS Spirit Week Activities have been announced for the week, Monday through Friday, September 15th-19th, as follows:

Monday- Camouflage or Cowboy Day

Tuesday- Concert T-shirt or Hawaiian Day

Wednesday- Wacky Tacky or Flashback (dress very tacky or dress from the past)

Thursday- College or NFL T-shirt Day and Hat Day- Bonfire and Powder Puff Game at 7:00 p.m.

Friday- Black & Gold Day
Field Competitions, Parade and Downtown Pep Rally, Homecoming Game vs Station Camp, (Presentation of Queen and Attendants at 7:00 p.m. followed by the game at 7:30 p.m.) and a Homecoming Dance after the game.

Dress code still applies and teachers are encouraged to participate.

Cheerleaders will be selling spirit items during lunch.

Penny Wars- classes compete against each other all week to see who can collect the most pennies. Silver coins or dollars will cancel out pennies. The class with the most pennies at the end of the week will get to keep the money they raised.

Spirit Chains will be sold for 10 cents each or three for 25 cents. The class with the longest chain wins. Spirit chains will be used to decorate the student section at the game.

Everyone is invited and encouraged to participate in each event. Support your class, your team, and your school.

Homecoming Day events are as follows:

7:00 a.m.- 7:40 a.m.- All vehicles in the parade are checked in and parked in the parking area

7:45 a.m.- All students should be in the first block at this time. Scavenger hunt videos will be shown.

8:30 a.m.- Band performs at DeKalb Middle School

8:45 a.m.- All drivers in the parade meet in the auditorium for parade instructions.

9:00 a.m.- All students assemble at the football field. Cheerleaders will conduct homecoming activities. Band will perform. All teachers will go to the field to supervise.

10:00 a.m.- Students may decorate vehicles at this time. Band performs at Smithville Elementary School

11:00 a.m.- All students will report to third block

11:00 a.m.- 11:45 a.m.- Lunch periods will be announced

12:20 p.m.- Parade lines up

12:40 p.m.- Parade leaves DCHS

12:50 p.m.- Band performs at Northside Elementary School

1:00 p.m.- Parade arrives at Smithville Elementary School

1:20 p.m.- Parade arrives at Northside Elementary School. Band leads parade to the city square

1:50 p.m.- Parade arrives at the square. Pep rally and band performance on the square.

1:05 P.M. WJLE "LIVE" coverage of the parade.

7:00 p.m. WJLE "LIVE" coverage of football game

(Group Picture- pictured left to right: Lauren Brooke Adcock, Rosemary Neal Apple, Macy Celeste Felts, April Michelle Hale, Heather Marie Hughes. Seated- Queen Kara Elizabeth Young)

Pryor Leads in "Fearless Forecaster" Picks- Goodwin Ahead in Underdog Selections

September 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
WJLE's Fearless Forecasters

John Pryor, WJLE's high school football play by play announcer, currently leads in the "Fearless Forecaster" standings after the first two weeks of the season.

Pryor's record is 15-5.

Dewain Hendrixson, Roger Underhill, and Chad Kirby are all tied for second place with a record of 13-7 each followed by Jeff James and Ricky Atnip at 12-8 each, Tom Duggin 11-9, and Joe Goodwin at 10-10.

The "Fearless Forecasters" pick who they believe will win in ten of the biggest or most interesting college football games of the week.

They also make an underdog selection each week, picking a team they think will win, even though that team is not favored to win.

Joe Goodwin currently leads in the points standings in the underdog selections, after two weeks, with 11 ½ points, followed by Chad Kirby with 10 points, Ricky Atnip and John Pryor each with 7 points, Roger Underhill 6, Dewain Hendrixson 4 ½, Tom Duggin with 3 ½. and Jeff James 0.

The "Fearless Forecasters" can be heard LIVE on WJLE Thursday's at 4:30 p.m.

The program is sponsored by Liberty State Bank, Bradley Printing, DeKalb County Ace Hardware, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, Cumberland Insurance, Pizza Hut, and the Charles D. Atnip Realty & Auction Company and City Bonding.

The program is hosted by WJLE's Tom Duggin.

Sheriff's Department Makes Two Drug Arrests Tuesday

September 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mark Anthony Graham
Amanda Riley

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested two people Tuesday on drug charges after discovering narcotics and components of a meth lab at their home while serving a state warrant.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 28 year old Amanda Riley and 38 year old Mark Anthony Graham were taken into custody.

According to Sheriff Ray, deputies went to a residence on Bright Hill Road Tuesday to serve a state warrant on Riley. During the arrest, the officers witnessed Riley pull a bag from her pants pocket. The bag contained pills believed to be morphine. Upon a pat down search, deputies found three small baggies of a white powder believed to be methamphetamine and twelve more pills believed to be hydrocodone.

The officers transported Riley to the DeKalb County Jail and contacted the Sheriff's Department's Drug Investigator. A search warrant for the residence was obtained and deputies and investigators returned to the home and executed the search warrant.

Graham who also lives at the residence, was at the home during the search. Officers found two small bags of white powder believed to be methamphetamine, marijuana, a metal container containing 20 ml of liquid known as Ketalar (Ketamine) or better known as the "date rape drug", hypodermic needles, electronic scales, and several spoons with a residue in them.

Officers also found several components of a methamphetamine lab, including Red Devil Lye, alcohol, peroxide, tubing, muratic acid funnels, distilled water, iodine, propane canisters, paper masks, razors, camping fuel, several glass jars, matches, among others..

The Eagle Construction Haz-Mat crew was summoned to the scene to take possession of the toxic chemicals.

Riley was charged with possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine) for resale, possession of a schedule II drug (morphine) for resale, possession of a schedule III drug (Hydocodone) for resale, manufacture of a controlled substance (Methamphetamine), and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond totals $82,500
.
Graham was charged with manufacture of a controlled substance (Methamphetamine), unlawful possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine), unlawful possession of a schedule II drug (Ketamine), simple possession of a schedule VI drug (Marijuana), and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond is $66,000
.
Both will appear in General Sessions Court on September 25th.

Willoughby and Woodward Attend FBLA Leadership Conference

September 9, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Luke Willoughby and Cynthia Woodward

FBLA members Luke Willoughby and Cynthia Woodward recently attended an annual leadership conference at Camp Clements in Doyle, TN. At this conference, officers from FBLA chapters across the state attended workshops geared to their specific office and teambuilding. Officers leave camp with a renewed enthusiasm and more knowledge about the duties and responsibilities of their office. Luke Willoughby is the State Vice- President and Cynthia Woodward is the Region 5 Secretary.

Along with workshops on leadership and official duties, campers were enrolled in “teams” for some physical challenges as well. Each camper was assigned a color team and competed with students from other schools in team competitions. Luke was on the Orange Tigers, Cynthia was on the Purple Giraffes and Mrs. Brown, advisor, was a co-coach of the Pink Gorillas. At the end of the weekend, awards were given to some individual campers. Cynthia won the “Overall Female Camper” award, Luke won the “Overall Camper” award, and Mrs. Brown’s Pink Gorillas won the overall team event award!

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