Local News Articles

Shots Fired at Officers During Pursuit

December 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Kevin Glenn Smith
Lydia Renee Judkins

The search for a man trying to evade arrest Monday night escalated with shots being fired at a patrol car during a pursuit before daybreak early Tuesday morning.

35 year old Kevin Glenn Smith remains at large and is wanted by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. He has a criminal history of drug offenses, burglaries, thefts, and an escape. Smith is now facing new felony charges in DeKalb County. He also has warrants against him in Warren, Coffee, and Cannon County.

The story unfolded Monday evening when Detectives of the Sheriff's Department went to a residence on Pea Ridge Road, Liberty to attempt to serve a Failure to Appear warrant on Smith’s girlfriend, 26 year old Lydia Renee Judkins of Jefferson Road, Smithville.

When Detectives made contact with Smith, who was in a Nissan Pathfinder, Smith started the engine and sped away, almost hitting the officers. Smith drove down a logging road where the officers could not follow in their patrol car and got away.

A couple of hours later, someone reported finding an overturned and abandoned Nissan Pathfinder on the Alexandria to Dismal Road. It was believed to be the same vehicle that Smith had been driving when he was last seen by Detectives on Pea Ridge Road. Sheriff Ray said that the Pathfinder was stolen from another county. The tag on the vehicle was also stolen from a different county.

Sheriff Ray said after the Pathfinder was found, other law enforcement agencies were summoned to join the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department in the search for Smith. "When we found the vehicle, we alerted Putnam County's K-9 unit and they came over with their track dog. We also called for a THP helicopter to fly over with their fleer system which is a heat sensing device," said Sheriff Ray in an interview with WJLE Tuesday night.

As help arrived, the sheriff's department got a tip that Smith had already left the area. "We received information that Smith had already been picked up and taken to a residence in the city limits of Dowelltown. We left the scene on the Alexandria to Dismal Road where the Pathfinder was found and went to Dowelltown where we learned that somebody had taken Smith from there to meet someone around Statesville Road off Highway 96 in Wilson County. We got Wilson County officers to go with us over there to do some saturated patrols to see if we could find this vehicle but we never could locate it," said Sheriff Ray.

On the way back before daybreak Tuesday morning, sheriff's department detectives spotted a suspicious pickup truck in Dowelltown. But when they tried to stop it to investigate, the truck took off and a pursuit ensued. "On our way back when we were driving between Liberty and Dowelltown, detectives saw a white Toyota Tacoma that was suspicious. The truck was on Main Street in Dowelltown but turned onto Highway 70. When the detectives turned around on the vehicle, it began to flee. There were two people in the truck and by the direction of travel that the truck went, we believe Kevin Smith was one of the persons in that vehicle. The pursuit went from Highway 70 to Highway 53 in Liberty, then to Sycamore Road, Hawkins Hill Road, Highway 96, to Statesville Road and then to various roads off Statesville Road near where Smith had been dropped off earlier. During the pursuit, one of the persons in the truck fired a weapon numerous times at the lead patrol car. The detectives did not return fire. For safety of the officers and the public, the detectives backed off the pursuit. Wilson County Sheriff's Department and Watertown Police Department officers were trying to get in position to get the truck stopped, but the driver kept taking roads left and right and finally got away," said Sheriff Ray.

The Tacoma pickup is also believed to have been stolen because the tag on it was stolen in Wilson County only three days ago (Saturday).

Though Smith has not threatened to harm the public, he is believed to be armed and witnesses have claimed he has said that if he were to be approached by law enforcement officers, he would make them shoot him because he is not going back to prison.

If anyone has information as to the whereabouts of Smith, please call the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department or Central Dispatch at 215-3000. Smith has many tattoos on his body.

According to Sheriff Ray, Smith has no known primary residence. "Through our investigation, he and his girlfriend have been staying with friends or sleeping in vehicles," he said.

Sheriff Ray wishes to thank Chief Mark Collins of the Alexandria Police Department for calling in an off duty officer when authorities thought the search for Smith might reach Alexandria.

Attorney for Mike Foster Files Motion to Dismiss Charge in U.S. District Court

December 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Hal Hardin
Mike Foster

The attorney for County Mayor Mike Foster has filed a motion asking the federal court to dismiss the case against Foster alleging that the former UCDD Chairman made false statements to the agency's board of directors relating to the Living the Dream facility, a home for seniors in Putnam County.

In his motion to dismiss filed Friday, December 13, Foster's attorney Hal Hardin claims that "Mr. Foster is entitled to dismissal of the charge because the "statements" he made are ambiguous to such an extent that they cannot be prosecuted as a crime".

Hardin has also filed a motion for a "Bill of Particulars" seeking specificity of the charge against Foster, and a motion for "Severance" claiming that Foster would be prejudiced by a joint trial with his co-defendants Wendy Askins and Larry Webb.

In September, Former UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins and former Deputy Director Larry Webb were named in a sixteen count federal grand jury indictment accusing them of conspiring to misuse government funds at the "Living the Dream" complex.

The grand jury also indicted Foster alleging that he read a statement that he knew was false at the UCDD board's January 19, 2012 meeting to cover up Askins' and Webb's alleged illegal activity.

In his motion to dismiss, Hardin contends "There is no allegation that Foster was a member of the conspiracy described in the indictment and no allegation that he ever received anything of value for reading the statement. While it is alleged that Foster knew that the read statement was false, it is not alleged that Foster knew that Askins and Webb had a criminal motive for asking him to read it."

A memorandum in support of the motion to dismiss is summarized as follows:

"In Count Sixteen, it is alleged that Mr. Foster violated 18 U.S.C. § 1001 when he presented or read a proposed amendment to the minutes on behalf of Askins and Webb to the Executive Committee of the 64-member Board of the UCDD on January 19, 2012. The purported purpose was to consider a correction to the minutes of the February 16, 2010, Board meeting to show that the Board had at that time discussed the transfer of funds for the benefit of one of the corporations owned by Askins and Webb."

"Thus, the sole count against Foster essentially alleges that he, a local government official, read a "statement prepared by Askins." Yes, read a statement prepared by Askins… to the Executive Committee of a local public Board in a public meeting that all know was being filmed by a local television station. There is no allegation that Foster was a member of the conspiracy described in the indictment, no allegation that he ever received anything of value for reading the statement. While it is alleged that Foster knew that the read statement was false, it is not alleged that Foster knew that Askins and Webb had a criminal motive for asking him to read it. Significantly, as clearly shown by the video, another member of the board made a motion to approve the statement… that board member has not been indicted. After the executive committee members engaged in a full discussion of the motion, it was passed without dissent by the Executive Committee. Mr. Foster “passed” and did not vote on it… none of the numerous Executive Committee members (or the 64 Board members) who discussed the motion and approved it were indicted."

"In pretrial discovery, prosecutors furnished a video of the January 19, 2012, meeting. It is rare that an alleged verbal crime can be shown on video. The Court is implored to examine the video. That video shows that Foster told the Executive Committee that his memory on the matter at issue was not clear. The video shows that present at the meeting were attorneys and scores of nonprofit board members who agreed with Defendant Foster’s recollection and with the statement read by him. There were no dissents or objections. Foster passed from voting on the issue. Federal crime? Also telling of Defendant Foster’s lack of involvement in any crime is the government’s complete discovery responses which contain tens of thousands of pages of documents unrelated to Mr. Foster."

"By way of basic criminal law, not all false statements violate § 1001, rather only false statements that may affect and influence the operation or the integrity of the government. Once jurisdiction has been determined, issues of materiality, knowledge and falsity arise."

"There are multiple reasons why Count Sixteen must be dismissed for failing to state a § 1001 violation. First, Foster’s statements before a local government board allegedly exposing him to criminal sanctions are, at a minimum, ambiguous to such an extent that, dismissal is required. For example, regarding the subject minutes he stated: “And we talked about it, we don’t think it was. We don’t know if it was voted on, we don’t know if it was properly presented, we don’t really know if it was done as it should have been done and there’s been some problems about whether or not we did it. We talked about it in another meeting about amending it, I think, to include that. And I don’t think that we did it…..was intended to be done and it was either left out or it wasn’t properly recorded. I don’t know which, I wasn’t, I’m not sure…. And I know we talked about it and I… John and I talked about remembering it and Michael and I did and Herb (other board members) nodding his head. We all remember this. But whether or not it was officially done or not but…..And I don’t know if it was properly done…” This ambiguous rambling, quoted language, is the crime alleged in Count 16. Simply to read it is to answer the question – this was not and cannot be a crime. Other members of the Executive Committee, none of whom are indicted, also had similar memories of previous discussion of the subject transaction. Federal crime? For full context of the statements, see the video. The Court is again implored to actually watch the supposed “crime.”

Second, the prosecutor's own theory of the case, as we can see by the allegations of overt acts under Count One, shows that it was Askins and Webb who created the statement upon which Count 16 relies, not Foster. Foster read the statement for them. He did not make a motion to adopt it, he passed from voting on it. A different Board Member suggested bringing it before the Board. There is no allegation in the indictment that Foster was aware of the allegedly criminal activity of the other defendants or that he knew that the statement was related to any criminal activity. Further, U.S. Courts historically, because of the delicate balance, only carefully tread on political matters involving local government officials. Here, such concerns and the First Amendment protects the ambiguous statement of Foster as protected speech. As held in United States v. Alvarez, 132 S. Ct. 2537 (2012), a case that struck down the Stolen Valor Act as an unconstitutional content-based restriction on free speech, there are limits on the government's ability to prosecute expressions of speech, and those limits extend to even false speech. The Supreme Court recognized in Alvarez that as a general matter, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its content, and as a result, the Constitution demands that content-based restrictions on speech be presumed invalid and that the government bear the burden of showing their constitutionality."

"Third, Foster’s alleged statement was not material and is not a “statement” for the purposes of a prosecution via § 1001. A violation of § 1001 is comprised of five elements: a statement by the defendant; which must be false or fraudulent material; knowingly and willfully made; pertinent to an activity within the jurisdiction of a federal agency."

"Here, as clearly shown by the video, Foster was merely making a suggestion of action the Executive Committee might take. He had no ability to alter the minutes, he had no ability to implement any policy or to take any action or to control the other members of the UCDD Board, many of whom also made similar alleged “statements” and none of whom are indicted. Only the Executive Committee of the UCDD Board had the ability to make any “statement” which affected federal function, not Mr. Foster. Federal Crime?"

"This Court has the clear authority to dismiss an indictment prior to trial when it fails to state an offense. Finally, while summary judgment is not mentioned in the criminal case context, a Court may consider if there has been a crime, and if not, dismiss it with prejudice."

In his motion for a "Bill of Particulars", Hardin wants the prosecutors to "State the exact false material "Statement" that Foster allegedly made. "Count Sixteen of the indictment alleges that, on or about January 19, 2012, Foster and Askins "aided and abetted by each other, did willfully and knowingly make and cause to be made materially false, fictitious, and fradulent statements and representations..and represented to the UCDD Executive Committee of the Board of Directors...had discussed and intended to approve the transfer of UCDD funds to CRDC for the purpose of the Living the Dream project at the February 16, 2010 UCDD Executive Committee Board meeting.... whereas in truth and in fact as Askins and Foster then and there well knew and believed, the UCDD Executive Committee had not discussed nor intended to approve the transfer of UCDD money to CRDC for the Living the Dream project on February 16, 2010."

"The defendant (Foster) requests that the prosecutors:

"State with specificity how Foster "then and there well knew and believed the UCDD Executive Committee had not discussed nor intended to approve the transfer of UCDD money to CRDC for the Living the Dream Project on February 16, 2010; State with specificity how Askins "aided and abetted" Foster; State with specificity how Foster "aided and abetted" Askins". Basic fairness dictates such a disclosure at this time."

In his motion for a severance, Hardin claims a joint trial with Askins and Webb would be prejudicial to Foster.

A memorandum in support of the motion is summarized as follows:

" Even a cursory review of the allegations reveals that the indictment is directed at the alleged multiyear criminal acts of Askins and Webb, with the result that the indictment devotes the vast majority of its verbiage to those defendants. Foster is discussed in only the final count of a sixteen count indictment and his alleged participation in the alleged crimes of Askins and Webb is miniscule or non- existent in relation to both the amount of alleged wrongdoing of those defendants and the time span of that wrongdoing."

"A joint trial of all three defendants will unavoidably be prejudicial to Foster for at least two reasons. First, if Foster is tried jointly, he will be inescapably associated in the minds of the jury with the voluminous amounts of material that will be presented against Askins and Webb. Any jury would have great difficulty in trying to separate out the miniscule amount of evidence pertaining to him from the huge amount of evidence that will be presented against Askins and Webb. Thus, Foster will be prejudiced by the "spillover" effect of the evidence against Askins and Webb."

"Second, Foster wishes to have a prompt disposition of this charge, and because the prosecution's case against Askins and Webb involved so many more counts, so much more evidence, and, likely, so many more pretrial disputes than the prosecution's case against him, Foster will not be able to enjoy his constitutional and statutory right to a speedy trial. The State court and Federal court defense of Askins will engender lengthy delays, and, without severance, Foster will not go to trial for many months or even years."

As WJLE reported previously, the cases against Askins, Webb, and Foster are currently set for trial on May 20, 2014 in U.S. District Court in Nashville.

DeKalb Gets Grant to Improve Safety on Dangerous County Roads

December 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Dangerous Curve on Bright Hill Road

DeKalb County has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation under the Local Roads Safety Initiative Program to improve conditions on certain county roads where there have been fatalities or incapacitating injuries within the last ten years.

A top ten list of roads has been compiled and prioritized based on the need. TDOT will assist the county in erecting guardrails, stop signs, and other safety measures.

"We got a grant from TDOT for $250,000 which will be used to improve certain roads which have had a fatality or incapacitating injury on them within the last ten years," said County Mayor Mike Foster at Monday night's county commission meeting. "We met recently and rated these roads. They went and looked at all of them to determine which roads would be worked on to accomplish some of the things for safety," he said

The top three roads are Bright Hill, Blue Springs, and Four Seasons. "The first road was Bright Hill Road. There have been some fatalities on it and several accidents," said Foster.

"Blue Springs Road will be primarily at the intersection of Bethel and Blue Springs Road," he said

"Four Seasons Road is at the big dog leg left turn, where if you miss it, you could go off about 400 feet below into the lake. They are going to put some guardrails there. There's another place closer to the dock where they're talking about putting in some guardrails," said Foster.

"Hopefully we'll have enough money to get to all of those (all ten roads identified)," he said.

"Guardrails will be put in on some roads. Some will be as simple as putting in stop signs and rumble strips. Some roads will have new markings and signs and some existing markings will be repainted. A shoulder problem will be improved on one of the roads," said Foster.

The top ten roads identified with a need for safety improvements are as follows:

1. Bright Hill Road. (2.1 miles) three incapacitating and two fatal crashes

2. Blue Springs Road (5.4 miles) one incapacitating and one fatal crash

3. Four Seasons Road (6.4 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

4. Casey Cove Road (2.4 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

5. Jefferson Road near Pates Ford (5.9 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

6. Smith Fork Road (5.8 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

7. Hurricane Ridge Road (2.8 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

8. Lakeview Drive (2.8 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

9. Chapman Hollow Road (2.1 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

10. Indian Mound Road (1.1 miles) no incapacitating and one fatal crash

Teens to be Tried as Adults in Aggravated Robbery and Kidnapping

January 5, 2014
Dwayne Page

Two sixteen year old boys accused of forcing their way into the home of a Smithville woman and then assaulting and robbing her in September will be tried as adults.

The boys appeared in DeKalb County Juvenile Court Wednesday, December 11 for a hearing on whether the cases should be transferred from the Juvenile to the Criminal Court.

"I filed a motion to transfer the cases to the criminal court to be tried. We had a hearing and he (Judge Bratten Cook,II) granted the motion. "I asked that these boys be tried as adults due to the serious and aggressive nature of the crimes," said Assistant District Attorney General Greg Strong in an interview with WJLE.

"The petition was amended to include the charge of aggravated kidnapping along with aggravated robbery," said Strong.

Bond for each boy was set at $250,000. They are being held at a Juvenile Detention Center in Nashville.

One of the boys is being represented by the District Public Defender's Office. Local attorney Mingy Bryant is the lawyer for the other.

Their cases will now be presented to the April term of the DeKalb County Grand Jury.

Officials have not disclosed the boy's names. The name of the victim is also being withheld.

According to Lieutenant Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department, the incident occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 18 at the woman's Smithville residence. He said the victim, who lives alone, heard something outside and when she opened the door to look outside, the two boys, who were wearing hockey masks forced their way in and assaulted her. " Upon investigation, I found out that the victim heard a noise outside the back of her residence," said Lieutenant Holmes. "She looked out but didn't see anyone. She went to open the door. As she cracked the door open, two masked men forced their way into the residence. One of the suspects tackled her to the ground, pepper sprayed her multiple times, and tried to insert a wash cloth in her mouth to keep her from screaming," he said. "One of the suspects ransacked the house and stole a 38 caliber revolver and multiple other items," he said. The total value of the stolen items came to around $600.

The woman, though injured in the attack with cuts, scrapes, and bruises, was apparently not seriously hurt and declined medical attention.

Though the two boys were carrying razor knives at the time of the attack, they apparently did not use them on the woman.

"We worked the case until about four in the morning (Thursday, September 19) and started back again later in the day," said Lieutenant Holmes. We went to Walmart and were able to trace the sale of the hockey masks back to the juveniles who had bought them prior to the incident," he said.

" We located them (the two suspects) at the high school and placed them under arrest in the classroom on Thursday. Our fear was that they may have brought the gun to school but as it turned out they did not have the gun at school. It was found at their home," said Lieutenant Holmes.

"We found in the attic of their residence the two hockey masks and a loaded 38 caliber handgun and other items that were taken from the victim's home. We also found some pepper spray," Lieutenant Holmes continued.

He said the boys, who lived together in the same household at the time of their arrests, are not related. Neither of the boys is related to the victim. The two boys lived in the same area of the city as the victim but police would not disclose the name of the street or neighborhood where the attack occurred.

Lieutenant Holmes, who was assisted in the investigation by Detective Brandon Donnell and Corporal Travis Bryant said police believe the two boys committed the crimes hoping to find money and drugs.

The two boys also allegedly tried to break into another residence in the same area the night before on Tuesday, September 17 but were unable to make entry.

One Airlifted in Two Car Crash Monday

December 17, 2013
Dwayne Page
Two Car Crash Monday on Allen Ferry Road
Three Injured in Wreck
Man driving Honda Fit Airlifted after Crash

Three people were injured in a two car crash Monday afternoon on Allen Ferry Road near the intersection of Highway 56 north by Village Market.

Corporal Travis Bryant of the Smithville Police Department told WJLE that 27 year old Kimberly Blanchfield of Dowelltown was driving east on Allen Ferry Road in a Hyundai Sonata when she crossed the center line into the path of a Honda Fit, driven by 22 year old Miguel Campos-Leal of Smithville, who was going west. The vehicles hit head-on. The Honda Fit came to rest in a ditch by the road.

A four year old boy was a passenger with Blanchfield. Corporal Bryant said the child was restrained in the back seat.

All were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Miguel Campos-Leal was airlifted from the hospital by helicopter and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital.

Corporal Bryant said Miguel Campos-Leal is cited for driving without a license and failure to show proof of insurance.

Other officers of the Smithville Police Department assisted Corporal Bryant at the scene. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also there to help.

Man Allegedly Steals Check from Mailbox

January 5, 2014
Dwayne Page
Samuel Malachi Murphy
Lorain Ruth Caldwell
 Jesse Rita Leaf
Antonio Hernandez Gomez

A Smithville man is in trouble with the law after allegedly stealing a personal check from a mailbox, forging his own name on the check, and then depositing it into his bank account.

37 year old Samuel Malachi Murphy of Cookeville Highway, Smithville is charged with forgery and theft of property over $500. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court December 19.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on November 24, Murphy allegedly stole a personal check from the victim's mailbox on Highway 56 south, changed the name on the check to his own name, and then went to Regions Bank in Smithville and deposited the check for $733 into his own account. The next day he withdrew the money from the account.

57 year old Lorain Ruth Caldwell of Spencer is charged with driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license. Her bond is $3,000.

Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, December 9 someone called in a report of a reckless driver on Highway 56. An officer responded and spotted Caldwell's vehicle swerving in the roadway on Highway 56. He stopped the automobile and spoke with Caldwell. Her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet. She also had problems holding up her head. Caldwell admitted to the officer that she had taken several prescribed medications. She submitted to but performed poorly on all field sobriety tasks. Caldwell also submitted to a blood test. Caldwell produced an ID only license. A computer check revealed that her license were suspended in North Carolina for failure to satisfy a citation. Caldwell was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

32 year old Jesse Rita Leaf of Meridan Drive, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court December 19.

Sheriff Ray said that on December 12 Leaf allegedly assaulted her sister by cursing her and punching her several times in the face and head with her fist, causing bruising to her sister's face and a swollen lip. The victim had injuries to her thumb and pinky finger from blocking punches. Leaf was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

58 year old Antonio Hernandez Gomez of Gordonsville is charged with driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. His bond is $4,000 and he will be in court January 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, December 14 Gomez was operating a motor vehicle on Highway 56 when he was stopped by an officer at Locke's Market in Warren County after being involved in a crash at Mystic Market in DeKalb County, where he hit and caused damage to a road sign and utility pole and then left the scene. Gomez had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. Gomez was so intoxicated he needed assistance getting to the patrol car. He refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and a blood test. Gomez had an open 12 ounce can of beer and four empty cans of beer inside the vehicle. He was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Issac Wins VIP Pass to Auditon for "The Voice"

December 16, 2013
Dwayne Page
Josh Issac

Thanks to on-line voters, local singing sensation Josh Issac has secured a special VIP audition for the hit NBC show "The Voice".

Issac was among a number of singers who recently recorded a performance of the National Anthem in an audition in Nashville at the Music City Center. Through November 17, viewers were able to go on-line and vote for their favorite audition. Issac received the most votes.

The VIP pass guarantees Issac goes straight to the producers, bypassing the first few rounds of the auditioning process. "Basically, it's just a chance to win a ticket to skip the initial rounds of having to wait in long lines. This gives you a chance to sit down and actually talk to a producer and tell them, not only your ability of singing but also your story of how you got there," said Issac in a recent interview with WJLE.

Issac is also scheduled to appear during a commercial break of the season five finale of "The Voice" Tuesday night, December 17 on NBC.

Election Commission Issues Nineteen Petitions

December 14, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission has issued qualifying petitions to ninteen persons for next year's elections.

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said petitions have been provided to the following persons:

Michael Clayborn for County Clerk (Incumbent)

Jeffrey McMillen for Register of Deeds (Incumbent)

James L. Poss for County Clerk

James Sprague for Road Supervisor

Katherine Pack for Circuit Court Clerk (Incumbent)

Bratten H. Cook, II for General Sessions Judge (Incumbent)

Jonathan Low for Constable in the Second District

Michael Agee for Sheriff

Bobby Taylor for County Commissioner in the Fourth District

Travis Bryant for Constable in the Third District

Tony Lawson for Constable in the Second District

Wayne Cantrell for County Commissioner in the Fourth District (Incumbent)

Jeff Barnes for County Commissioner in the Sixth District (Incumbent)

Bennett Armstrong for County Commissioner in the First District

Elmer Ellis, Jr. for County Commissioner in the First District (Incumbent)

Rick Cantrell for County Commissioner in the Fifth District (Incumbent)

Kevin Robinson for County Commissioner in the Seventh District

David McDowell for County Commissioner in the Fourth District (Incumbent)

Margie Rigsby Miller for General Sessions Judge

All are expected to be candidates for the nomination of their party in the DeKalb County Democratic Primary May 6 except for Low, Bryant, and Lawson who will be running as Independents in the DeKalb County General Election in August to fill unexpired Constable positions

Stanley said Clayborn, Poss, Sprague, Agee, Taylor, and McMillen have already returned their completed petitions to the election commission office.

The qualifying deadline is noon February 20, 2014.

Regions Bank Branch in Alexandria to Close in March

December 13, 2013
Dwayne Page
Regions Bank Branch in Alexandria to Close in March

As part of an effort to consolidate its banking network, officials of Regions Financial Corporation have announced plans to close the Alexandria Branch Office of Regions Bank as of March 14.

Customers of the Alexandria branch will be consolidated into the Smithville branch. Regions will be working with the affected associates (employees) to find other opportunities in the company, where possible.

WJLE contacted a spokesperson for the company Friday and he issued the following statement on the consolidation. "As a normal course of business, Regions reviews the effectiveness of all our businesses, locations and policies so we can use our resources as efficiently as possible. A careful review of our branch network identified opportunities to consolidate our network – based on traffic, volume, location of other branches, profitability and other factors".

"While customers of the Alexandria branch will be consolidated into the Smithville branch, they may also bank at any Regions branch, just as they have in the past. Regions has some 1,700 branches and 2,000 ATMs, as well as a host of other alternative ways of banking -- from online, to mobile banking, and more," the statement concluded.

Regions is one of three banks in Alexandria. Wilson Bank and Trust/DeKalb Community Bank and Liberty State Bank also have branches there.

School Board Adopts Youth Sports Concussion Policy

December 13, 2013
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted a new policy on first reading as recommended by the Tennessee School Boards Association intended to reduce concussions in youth sports and increase awareness about the traumatic brain injury.

The policy is not just an option. A new state law, which passed in April and takes effect January 1, will make learning about the dangers of concussions a prerequisite for competing, while also implementing safeguards to ensure that children who suffer a concussion don't return to play until they are healed.

Tennessee is the 44th state to pass this law.

Under the policy, it will be up to local youth leagues for all sports, not just football, to put into practice. The law will apply to public and private school teams and to recreational leagues for children under 18 that require a fee.

It has three key components.

It requires administrators, coaches, parents and youth athletes to be educated about the dangers of concussions and to sign a sheet stating they understand those dangers before competing. Any athlete who displays the symptoms of a concussion would be required to be removed from competition. And any athlete suffering a concussion could not return to play or practice until cleared by a doctor, osteopath or neuropsychologist.

"We just got this on Tuesday but I think this is a minimum standard that you have to adhere to. I have heard that some counties are even going more stringent than this, said Attendance Supervisor Joey Reeder during Thursday night's school board meeting. "We think this came from the Department of Health. TSSAA also has a concussion policy. We may have some questions about some of our youth leagues that use our facilities and getting those approved. That is something we'll have to look at between now and next month. We all know concussions are at the forefront of everything right now. We certainly want all of our student athletes healthy when they go to play. I assume if the TSBA approved this (policy) they have checked it pretty thoroughly. My biggest question is Junior Pro Football and Basketball, There is a check list that all coaches have to sign that they have been trained," he said.

Concerned about the school system's responsibility, First District board member John David Foutch asked about a portion of the regulations "Tennessee Protocol for Registered Officials During Contests" which calls for a determination prior to the start of the contest as to whether a school/community-based youth athletic organization has access to a designated health care professional during the contest".

"Designated health care professionals are certified athletic trainers, licensed nurse practitioners, physician's assistants, medical doctors, or osteopathic physicians".

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said he hopes to have answers to all the questions about the new law by the time the Board acts on second and final reading of the policy next month.

National Federation of State High School Associations has developed a free 20 minute course online
entitled "Concussion in Sports-What You Need to Know". The course may be accessed at www.nfhslearn.com

The Tennessee Department of Health has concussion information available online at http://health.state.tn.us/TBI/concussion.htm.

In other business, Director Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since last month's meeting.

Those employed are as follows:
Amanda Trapp, educational assistant at SES
Linda Knight-Gatlin, teacher DWS
Myra Fox, educational assistant SES
Adrianna McCormick, Polly Wilkins, Roalinda Cervantes, as sub cafeteria workers
Michael Washer, part time cafeteria worker SES
Joyce Alexander and Tonya Perry, substitute teachers
Taylor McDaniel,teacher at DCHS (filling a Leave of Absence)
Andria Keith, substitute nurse

Gail Crips, Secretary NES retired
Melanie Molander,teacher DWS resigned
Tonya Perry, substitute teacher

Leave of Absence
Lindsey Bouldin, teacher SES leave as requested
Mollie Bratten, teacher NES leave as requested
Trena Curtis, teacher SES leave as requested
Lisa Hull, teacher SES leave as requested
Jane Watson, teacher DWS leave as requested

Robbie Joan Frazier transferred from substitute to educational assistant at NES
Tena Edwards, transferred from educational assistant to Secretary at NES


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