Local News Articles

All DeKalb County Pre-K Classes Full This Year

September 1, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Pre-K Teacher Jennifer Peek with Students at SES
Pre-K Students at Smithville Elementary

All pre kindergarten classes are full this year, but you can have your named placed on a waiting list if or when there is a vacancy.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade says around 100 students are being served by the pre-k program this year. "Several years ago we were able to receive a pre-k program. It was referred to as a pilot program. We received that at Smithville Elementary and DeKalb West School. At that time, we could take three and four year olds into the programs. With the success that was shown across the state with the pre-k programs, we were able to expand. At the present time we have four pre-k classrooms at Smithville Elementary and one at DeKalb West School. We have completely filled our classrooms for this school year and we're really excited about that because all the children are coming in, we're all starting at the same time of the year, and the teachers are getting to know an entire class. It's just absolutely wonderful that our community has taken advantage of the pre-k programs. We had several packets picked up on registration day that have not been returned to us. Even though our classrooms are completely full we have started a waiting list and that simply means that when you turn in your application, your child's name will go on a list, and if we have a spot to open up in the pre-k classrooms, we will call the parents on that list and ask them if they would like to add their child to the class at that time."

Burklow says all instructors are certified and the curriculum is well structured. "We can have up to 20 students in a classroom. All of our pre-k teachers are certified. They hold a teaching certificate in pre-k. They also do the 30 hours of in-service, professional development training each year. They are CPR and first aid trained and certified. As far as our educational assistants, we do have to keep a one to ten ratio in the pre-k classrooms so each classroom has an educational assistant. The educational assistant is highly qualified under No Child Left Behind guidelines. The first year that they are with us, they complete 18 hours of training. After that first initial year then they only have to complete 12 hours of training, but they too are CPR and first aid certified. Just like the regular school day, our pre-k day is the same. The children are given an opportunity to ride the bus each day. We have a seven hour day. We have an "OWL" curriculum, it's called "Opening the World of Learning" that we use as our main curriculum. We have the letter people, which is introducing the alphabet to the children through puppets and inflatable people. We also use Frog Street Press as supplements to this curriculum. Concerning the pre-k curriculum, the children are not at a table all day long. The state requires that the children go to centers and are given an opportunity to choose a center for two and a half hours a day. They may decide to go to dramatic play or they may decide to go to blocks or an art activity. They may choose to do a puzzle. So there's two and a half hours a day that the children choose what they would like to go into and to socialize with their peers."

For more information, call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107, Clay Farler at 215-2101, or call Smithville Elementary or DeKalb West School.

Local Man Injured in Truck Accident

August 31, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 25 year old Smithville man was seriously injured in a pickup truck wreck late Friday night on Highway 70 east on Sligo hill.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Bryan Officer was traveling west in a 1988 Chevy pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, overcorrected, and over turned. 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.

Woman Airlifted after Thursday Night Wreck

August 30, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 47 year old woman was airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital after a one car traffic accident late Thursday night.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Carrolyn L. Parker-Bullington who claims to live on a houseboat at Cove Hollow Marina was driving south on Dale Ridge Road in a 1998 Chevy Metro when she failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the roadway, struck an embankment, and flipped over. A passing motorist spotted the wreck and reported it around 11:40 p.m.

Bullington was transported by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone near the entrance of Edgar Evins State Park on Wolf Creek Road. She was airlifted by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital. Bullington was still hospitalized in stable condition Friday.

Others on the scene included the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Local Law Enforcement Officers Join Forces for Sobriety Checkpoints

August 30, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb Sheriff's Department, Smithville Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department conducted sobriety check points throughout the county on Friday.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says county deputies and the Alexandria Police Department conducted a Sobriety Check Point on Highway 53 in Alexandria. A total of 451 cars passed through. Sheriff Ray says "There were a large number of cars that went through our road block on Highway 53 due to an accident on Interstate 40. Despite the large number, all were within the law. I'm very proud of that."

At the same time, officers from the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb Sheriff's Department conducted another Sobriety Check point on Highway 70 East and 56 North. A total of 375 vehicles came through.

Sheriff Ray says "There will be more joint enforcements such as Sobriety Check Points and Saturated Patrols that will be forthcoming within the county. I am proud we as law enforcement officers can work together in efforts such as this and accomplish our goals."

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to a property motor vehicle accident on Highway 70 on Tuesday.

Officers arrested 19 year old Heriberto Cruz Guerra of Walker Drive, Smithville for driving without a license. Guerra was also issued a traffic citation for failure to maintain proof of insurance. Guerra's bond was set at $1,000 and he will be in court September 3rd..

On Friday, deputies arrested 45 year old Billy Wayne Woodard of Wright Bend Road, Smithville for a violation of probation warrant. Sheriff Ray says while deputies conducted a pat down search of Woodard's person, they found a bottle that contained 4 peach colored tablets believed to be Xanax. Woodard was then charged with simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax). Woodard's bond was set at 2,500 and he will appear in court on September 25th.

Tigers end Watertown drought with 31-14 romp

August 29, 2008
Watertown Score Board Tells the Story
Fans Join Tigers in Celebrating Rare Win at Watertown

The DeKalb County High School Tiger football team improved their record to 2-0 on the young season by beating the Watertown Purple Tigers, 31-14, Friday night in Watertown. The win snapped Watertown's six-game win streak over DeKalb County, and was the Tigers' first victory in Watertown since 1974.

Tiger quarterback, Hunter Poteete, threw for 258 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but had a couple of early interceptions, including one by Blaze Eaton that was returned 26 yards for a touchdown. Ryan Huffman's extra point gave the Purple Tigers a 7-0 advantage with 6:20 on the clock in the first quarter.

DeKalb County recorded their first points on a safety, as linebacker Chris Odom dropped Purple Tiger quarterback, Dalton Phillips, in the end zone with 10:17 left in the second quarter, which trimmed the Watertown lead to 7-2. The Tigers got their first touchdown - and their first lead of the night - on a three-yard dash by Poteete into the end zone with 54 seconds left in the half. Poteete tossed the two-point conversion pass to J.J. Herriott, which gave DC a 10-7 lead.

Watertown re-claimed the lead on the opening drive of the second half, as the Purple Tigers marched 74 yards in 10 plays and scored on Ethan Patterson's end around run to the end zone. Huffman added the PAT to give the hosts a 14-10 advantage. DeKalb County's offense sputtered in the third quarter, as the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their two drives of the quarter. The defense held its ground, however, and on DC's first drive of the fourth quarter, Poteete and Herriott hooked up on a 79-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Tigers a 17-14 lead after Zach Taylor kicked the extra point. The defense stuffed the Purple Tigers again on the ensuing drive, and the Tigers marched right back down and scored again with 3:04 left in regulation on a nine-yard pass from Poteete to Travon Johnson. Taylor's PAT gave DeKalb a 24-14 advantage.

After forcing a Watertown three-and-out, with just a little over a minute left in the game, the Tigers were looking to run some time off the clock when Matthew Lawrence broke free on a 23-yard touchdown run to put the victory on ice. Taylor kicked the final extra point, which put the eventual final score of 31-14 on the board.

Poteete completed 15 of his 27 pass attempts, and added 60 rushing yards on 22 carries. Lawrence ran the ball 10 times for 50 yards, as the Tigers totaled 110 ground yards and 368 yards of total offense. DC also had 138 return yards for a combined total of 506 all-purpose yards on the night. Herriott had 146 receiving yards and 125 return yards for the Tigers.

Watertown, meanwhile, was held to 175 yards of total offense. The Purple Tigers had 76 rushing yards, led by Blaze Eaton with 39 yards on nine carries. QB Dalton Phillips completed 9-of-24 passes for 60 yards.

DeKalb County will open the Region 4-3A portion of their schedule next Friday night, as the Greenbrier Bobcats come to Smithville. The Bobcats are 1-1 on the season, after losing to David Lipscomb, 42-3, on Friday. Kickoff of next Friday's game will be at 7:30 p.m.

Newly Elected Officials Sworn into Office

August 29, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Timothy Fud Banks Takes Oath
Bruce Parsley and Dub Evins Take Oath
Constables After Taking Oath

Their terms won't officially begin until Monday, September 1st but the Assessor of Property, two school board members, and six constables, elected on August 7th, were sworn into office Friday morning at the courthouse.

County Mayor Mike Foster administered the oath of office to Assessor of Property Timothy Fud Banks, Fifth District School Board member W.J. (Dub) Evins III, Sixth District School Board member Bruce Parsley, Second District Constable Reed Edge, Third District Constable Wayne Vanderpool, Fourth District Constable Paul Cantrell, Fifth District Constable Mark Milam, Sixth District Constable Cantrell Jones, and Seventh District Constable Johnny King.

Banks' deputy assessor's, Pamela Hale, Kenneth Pinegar, and Jared Dodd also took their oath of office.

The terms of the Assessor of Property, Constables, and the two School Board members will expire on August 31st, 2012.

(Click on pictures to see larger images)

Community Rallies Support for Allison Rogers

August 28, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Allison Rogers
Aaron and Thea Tippin Perform at Rogers Benefit

Thousands of dollars were raised Thursday night during a benefit at Northside Elementary School for nine year old Allison Rogers, who has battled Ewing Sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, since the age of six.

A meal and silent auction were held to raise money for the Rogers family followed by a performance by Country Music Entertainers Aaron and Thea Tippin and the Smithville Cumberland Presbyterian Church Praise and Worship Team.

After several rounds of chemotherapy and a surgery to replace a portion of her left femur with a donor bone, it appeared that Allison was on her way to recovery. However after two years, Allison again experienced pain in her left leg and on February 11th, doctor's discovered that the cancer had returned.

Allison had another surgery in May to replace the left femur from just above her knee up to her hip. In June she faced stronger chemotherapy, and a stem cell infusion. She is now facing radiation.

Allison's father, Wes Rogers, says Allison is recovering well. "She's doing really, really well. We're just blessed at how well she is doing. She's recovering well. She's been through a whole lot of chemotherapy, surgery, and now radiation. The stem cell transplant was really the worst of it. The chemo that they gave her for that caused her to have a great deal of pain, mouth sores, skin problems, and nausea. We were in the hospital for just over three weeks. The doctors thought we might be in there longer than that but once she started recovering, she really bounced back well. That really went better than we expected. We were able to come home from the hospital the fourth weekend after we went in and they said the average was about six weeks before anyone could come home. Right now we're staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Nashville during the weeks and coming home on the weekends and we're glad we're able to do that. She's able to be around people. She's not supposed to get hugs and things like that, but sometimes they happen before you can stop them."

Rogers also described the surgery to replace Allison's left femur. "They replaced it with what they call a mega prosthesis. It goes from the ball of the hip joint all the way down to just above her knee and it's metal. It's expandable and adjustable so that when the hip socket grows they'll be able to change out the ball and put in a bigger one and they'll be able to make it longer with one relatively minor surgery."

"The radiation she now faces is intended to make sure that the cancer never comes back. Before they would ever begin a stem cell transplant they wanted to make sure there was no evidence of disease. She already had six different week long periods of chemotherapy before they were able to say there was no evidence of disease and then there was the surgery where the doctor went in there and cut out where he knew the tumor had been in the bone, because the tumor that was inside the bone was still partially alive."

The Rogers family would like to thank everyone for their donations and expressions of love and support for them and Allison.

Man Charged with Raping 16 Year old Girl at Knifepoint

August 27, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Carmelino Sanchez Rodriguez

Smithville Police have charged a 24 year old man with the aggravated rape of a 16 year old girl at knife point Saturday.

Chief Richard Jennings and Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. say Carmelino "Carlos" Sanchez Rodriguez of Short Mountain Street will be in General Sessions Court on September 4th on charges of aggravated rape and especially aggravated burglary.

Bond is set at $150,000.

The police report states that on Saturday, August 23rd, at 756 South Mountain Street, Rodriguez forced his way into the home of the victim and then took her into the bedroom where he raped her. Holding a knife, Rodriguez allegedly threatened to kill her if she told anyone or called the police.

Chief Jennings and Detective Sergeant Hutchins responded to the scene and were able to collect. several pieces of evidence which have been sent to the TBI crime lab for forensic testing.

In another case, Smithville Police charged two women following a one auto accident Sunday on South College Street at Greenbrook Park.

22 year old Nichole M. Reynolds of Switchboard Road, Brush Creek was charged with simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia

Bond for Reynolds is $2,000 and she will appear in General Sessions Court on October 2nd.

Meanwhile, 22 year old Ashley D. Golden of Pea Ridge Road was charged with driving under the influence. Her bond was set at $1,000 and her court date is October 2nd.

The police report states that on Sunday, August 24th, Officer Travis Bryant responded to Greenbrook Park on South College Street, in regard to a motor vehicle accident with injury. Upon arrival, Officer Bryant made contact with Reynolds who advised him that she was laying down in the back seat when the accident occurred. As Officer Bryant inventoried the vehicle, he noticed a small black container laying on the back seat in plain view, containing one and a half blue round pills believed to be oxycontin and one and a half white pills believed to be xanax. The officer also found a pill crushing plate with a white powdery residue on it in.

Reynolds allegedly admitted to taking pills prior to the accident.

In addition to the drug charges, Reynolds was cited for failure to use a seatbelt.

In the case against Golden, Police say she was operating the motor vehicle that was involved in the accident. Golden had slurred speech and was unable to perform field sobriety tasks because of her injuries. She did take a blood test. She allegedly admitted to taking prescription drugs prior to the accident.

The case was investigated by Officer Travis Bryant.

Meanwhile, 30 year old Victor L. Lewis of Miller Road was charged with assault after allegedly attacking another man, Jerry McCormack in the lobby of the Smithville Post Office on Monday morning.

Police say McCormack entered the lobby and the man who followed him in, Lewis, uttered the word "Hey". When McCormack turned around, Lewis allegedly began punching him in the face and about the body with his fists. After the assault, Lewis left the building, got in a silver Pontiac, driven by a female, and rode away. McCormack later told police that Lewis used to date his daughter.

Lewis is under a $1,000 bond.

The case was investigated by Officer Matt Holmes.

Sheriff Says Hickson No Longer in DeKalb County- May be Enroute to Missouri

August 26, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page
Nicklas Hickson

Residents of the Temperance Hall Community can now breathe a sigh of relief.

Not only is Kirk Douglas Fincher back behind bars but it appears Nicklas Hickson has left the area and may now be in or on his way to Kansas City Missouri.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has learned that Hickson caught a ride to Nashville Sunday morning and used someone's cell phone to call his mother in Kansas City, Missouri.

The TBI has also learned that Hickson got someone to check him into the Knight's Inn on Spring Street in Nashville using a ficticious name Sunday evening where he spent the night.

He was last seen at a Greyhound bus terminal in Nashville Monday night. His picture was captured at 6:01 p.m. Monday on a video tape from a surveillance camera at the bus station.

Sheriff Ray is asking anyone who may have given Hickson a ride or let him use their cell phone to contact the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department to provide more information. Phone 597-4935.

Two Arrested on DUI Charges

August 25, 2008
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested two men on drunk driving charges last week.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says deputies responded to a call on Bethel Road in the Blue Springs area on Thursday concerning a man who had passed out in a vehicle in the middle of the road.

Officers found 23 year old Jeronimo Miguel Soto of Short Mountain Road, Smithville to be under the steering wheel of the vehicle. Soto was so impaired and unbalanced, he was unable to perform sobriety tasks. Soto had no driver's license and he refused to take a blood test. Soto was placed under arrest for a second offense of driving under the influence, no driver's license, and he was issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. His bond was set at $4,500 and he will appear in court on September 4th.

While making this arrest, Sheriff Ray says another man pulled up in a car and the deputies smelled an odor of alcohol on his person. They arrested 26 year old Jose Gerardo Carrillo of Short Mountain Highway for a first offense of driving under the influence. Carrillo was unsteady on his feet and he failed field sobriety tasks. Carrillo also refused to take a blood alcohol test. Carrillo was taken into custody for DUI and violation of the implied consent law. His bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on September 11th.

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