Local News Articles

Christmas Spirit Bestowed Upon UCHRA Residential Homes by Secret Santa

December 31, 2009
CHANCE Christmas Gifts Photo

The holiday season has always been a time of giving whether it be to family, friends, or those less fortunate. People seem to put their wants and needs on hold during this joyous season by practicing the importance of giving. The administration of CHANCE residential homes for young men and women found Friday, December 18 to be no exception to the gift giving spirit.

CHANCE residential centers are a place for at risk youth to live in a safe, highly structured environment. Through around-the-clock care, counseling and academic instruction these youth work to return to their communities with high self esteem and a new demeanor. As these centers strive to rebuild trust and self-confidence, they have been able to see young men and women emerge with an excitement for life and an understanding that they can make worthwhile contributions to the community.

“When a young person arrives at CHANCE residential center, our role to “Give a Child a CHANCE” is in full effect. If love and understanding, positive support, and meaningful information are not a part of life’s experiences, hope for the future becomes lost. The CHANCE residential centers provide a chance at life that many of us take for granted,” Phyllis Bennett, Executive Director of UCHRA said.

A large number of Christmas gifts were anonymously donated to CHANCE for the youth living in three residential centers. Each youth in the three CHANCE centers was given an Under Armour duffel bag filled with numerous clothing. “It is through such anonymous donations that we are giving these children a chance to have a Christmas. Many children come into our centers with very little personal belongings, and we are glad to be able to give them something that they can carry with them when they leave us not withstanding all they have learned while being at our homes,” Brian Swearengen, UCHRA Residential Services Director said.

For more information on UCHRA’s residential centers or ways to make donations, please contact the UCHRA Central Office in Cookeville, TN at (931) 528-1127 or visit us at www.uchra.com.

CUTLINE: Christmas was brighter for the young men and women at the UCHRA Residential Centers. Representatives from the centers are pictured above receiving an anonymous donation that was later given to the youth of each center. From left to right: Amanda Young, Indian Mound Administrative Assistant, Teresa Hutchings, Indian Mound Facilitator and Case Manager, Amy Dutton, Youth Impact Center Facility Coordinator and Case Manager , Tina Puckett, Indian Mound Case Manager, and Brian Swearengen, UCHRA Residential Services Director.

Monday Fire Destroys Building at Auto Salvage Business

December 28, 2009
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Auto Salvage Building
Heat from Next Door Fire Damages Bethlehem Community Church
Fire Photo (Provided by Daniel Summers)-

A noon time fire Monday destroyed a building at Center Hill Auto Recyclers on Dry Creek Road in Smithville behind the Bethlehem Community Church. Heat from the fire also damaged the vinyl siding on the rear exterior of the church building.

Central dispatch received the call at 11:54 a.m.

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker says workers were busy in the garage removing parts off a wrecked car, which was up on a rack, when sparks from the cutting torch being used, apparently caught something on fire in the shop. The blaze quickly spread. Everyone inside at the time escaped unharmed. Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department arrived on the scene within minutes but were unable to save the structure where the fire started and the contents. Billowing smoke from the fire could be seen for miles.

Members of the Smithville Police Department and DeKalb EMS were also site. No one was injured.

(Special thanks to Daniel Summers for providing bottom photo to WJLE)

Two Charged with Theft of Steamroller

December 28, 2009
Dwayne Page
Johnny Wayne Wilson
David Allen Bedwell
Matthew Allen Baker
Peter Tramel

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department charged two men last week with theft of property over $500 for allegedly stealing a steamroller.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 30 year old Johnny Wayne Wilson of Thurston Young Road, Bradyville TN was charged Tuesday, December 22nd and 31 year old David Allen Bedwell of Hurricane Creek Road, Woodbury was arrested the next day, Wednesday, December 23rd.

Sheriff's Department Detective's allege that the two men went to a farm on Oakley Hollow Road and took a steamroller valued at over $500. The steam roller was then taken to the Ivy Bluff Scrap Yard in Cannon County to be sold. The owners of the scrap yard had been advised of the stolen steamroller and refused to take it. The steamroller was then dumped beside of a road in Cannon County. Bond for both men was set at $5,000 each. Wilson will appear in court on January 28th and Bedwell's court date is January 7th.

Also on Wednesday, December 23rd, 27 year old Matthew Allen Baker was charged with vandalism after he allegedly tampered with the water sprinkler system in the holding cell where he was incarcerated at the jail annex. The sprinkler system activated causing water damage. Bond for Baker was set ta $2,500 and he will appear in court on January 14th.

In another case on Wednesday, December 23rd, Sheriff Ray says a call was made to deputies about a possible drug deal going down in the Dollar Tree parking lot in Smithville. After officers located the vehicle in question, they asked the driver, 33 year old Peter D. Tramel of Cill Street Smithville for consent to search his vehicle but Tramel refused. A K-9 dog was taken around the vehicle and indicated the presence of drugs. A search was then performed. Under the driver's side seat, deputies found a wooden box that contained nine long white pills believed to be Xanax. Also found in a sunglasses case was an orange pill believed to be Suboxone, a hollowed out ink pen barrel, a gift card, and a pill crusher. Tramel was charged with simple possession of a schedule IV drug Xanax, simple possession of a schedule III drug Suboxone, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for Tramel was set at $4,000 and he will appear in court on January 14th.

Law Requiring Antifreeze Bittering Agent Takes Effect

December 27, 2009

The Haley Ham Law requiring a bittering agent in all antifreeze sold in Tennessee takes effect on Jan. 1, 2010. The law is intended to help prevent the accidental or intentional poisoning of people, pets and other animals as a result of ingesting antifreeze or engine coolants.

“As the agency charged with enforcing this new law, we are working with the manufacturers and retailers to ensure compliance,” said Commissioner Ken Givens. “Consumers can feel confident that antifreeze manufactured and sold after Jan. 1 in Tennessee will contain the bittering agent.”

Without the added bittering agent, antifreeze has a sweet aroma and flavor. Ethylene glycol, an ingredient in antifreeze, is toxic to humans and animals. An estimated 10,000 animals are poisoned by ethylene glycol and approximately 1,400 children ingest ethylene glycol each year in the U.S.

Haley Ham, of Sevierville, was the catalyst for this new law. She contacted Tennessee legislators when her two dogs were intentionally poisoned by antifreeze. She attended committee meetings and spoke with media in support of the bill.

"It’s been years. I've matured - moved on, but it’s something that'll stick with me for the rest of my life,” said Ham. “Obviously, I'm proud. And as I said in one of my old interviews - I just wanted justice. That’s one thing that hasn't changed, that’s the reason, that’s the motive.”

Manufacturers have already been contacted about the new law and are expected to comply. The penalty for noncompliance is a Class C misdemeanor.

The bill was sponsored by former state Sen. Raymond Finney and state Rep. Janis Sontany and signed into law by Governor Phil Bredesen.

“I am happy to have sponsored this bill,” said Sontany. “More animals and children are safer because of this added bittering agent.”

For more information, visit www.TN.gov/agriculture/regulatory/antifreeze.html.

Governor's Highway Safety Office Launches Cumberland Crackdown

December 25, 2009
Dwayne Page

Law enforcement agencies across the Cumberland Region including the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department are working together to save lives on Tennessee roadways. The Governor's Highway Safety Office will join 88 agencies from 28 counties to kick off the Cumberland Crackdown at noon, Wednesday, December 30.

The Crackdown will be one of the largest enforcement events in Tennessee. Law enforcement agencies will be focusing their efforts on some of the deadliest highways in their jurisdiction including Highway 70 in DeKalb County. These highways were identified by the Department of Safety using data from the present all the way back to 1994. Agencies will conduct sobriety checkpoints and saturation points along these roadways from 8:00 a.m., Wednesday, December 30th until 3:00 a.m., Thursday, December 31st

"We are able to use a more proactive approach to enforcement this holiday season by using data provided to us by the Department of Safety," stated Governor's Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Liaison Clint Shrum. "Having the ability to determine the areas that are the most dangerous allows agencies to appropriate the right resources to ensure highway safety. Because of this approach the Cumberland Region is experiencing a noticeable decrease in highway fatalities this year."

Director Kendell Poole, GHSO, added, "This time of year can be one of the happiest for families as they get together and make new memories. However, those happy moments can be stolen away in seconds because the holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous. Enforcement will make a difference."

The Governor's Highway Safety Office reminds all Tennessee drivers to stay safe throughout the holiday season and buckle up, watch your speed and designate a sober driver when taking part in holiday festivities.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be conducting sobriety roadside safety
checkpoints during the week of December 31 on State Route 53 and 56 in DeKalb County.

Impaired driving is a serious crime that kills more than 16,000 people and injures 305,000 others every year in the United States. Troopers will evaluate drivers for signs of alcohol or drug impairment. Troopers will target those who operate a vehicle while impaired and take corrective actions for other violations observed while ensuring the protection of all motorists.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol recognizes that sobriety checkpoints are highly visible and effective tools in the battle against impaired driving.

Many Honored and Remembered Through "Love Lights A Tree" Fundraising Campaign

December 24, 2009
Dwayne Page
Love Lights A Tree
Love Lights A Tree2

The DeKalb County Unit of the American Cancer Society seeks your support in the "Love Lights a Tree fundraising campaign." This annual event gives area residents the opportunity to honor a special person during the holiday season and aid in cancer research.

The "Love Lights a Tree" project is designed to raise money not only for research, but includes cancer education and patient services. Donations in honor of and in memory of a special person can be made throughout the holiday season. The persons you honor or remember do not necessarily have to have suffered from cancer.

The names of honorees are as follows:

McKinley Jones, Shelly Cross, Peggy Roller, Polly Turner, Carolyn Walden, James Walden, Linda Judkins, Carolyn Sheets, Jack Midgett, Kent Smithson, Roy Breeding, Walter Johnson, Jo Doris Johnson, Earl D. France, Radley Hendrixson, Violet Fuson, Lisa Anderson, Robbie Scott, Kassie M. Boyd, Vada Pauline Herndon, Vera Bell Davenport, Vanice King Davenport.

In memory:

Luther Fuson, Pearl Fuson, Lewis Cobb, Floyce Vaughn, Peggy Fuson Palmer, Florene Redmon Sanders, C.H. Malone, Bernice Malone, Roy Harney, Billie Malone Frazier, Doak Pedigo, Stanley Wallace, Harold Hoover, Betty Jean Braswell, Angie Malone Allen, John Paul Grubb, Ted Beck, Billy C. Pruitt, Sr., Kenneth Parker, Joe Reeder, Len Judkins, Marie Judkins, Earl Judkins, Clyde Randolph, Mary Randolph, Ruth Elder, Hattie Velma Braswell, Houston Braswell, Eugene Braswell, Clyde Redmon, Lloyd Redmon, June Nixon, Nannie Smith, Virgil Smith, Grady Crook, Eva Crook, Curtis Adams, Rusty Sittig, Frances Sramcik, Velma Midgett, Faye Phillips, Martha Cathcart, Homer Lee Ellis

Rebecca Cantrell, Hamp Cantrell, Jr., Judy Hawkins, Shane Hawkins, Lonnie Wilkins, Rebecca Wilkins, John Lee Pack, Emma Jo Knight, Charles (Jack) Knight, Maylee Jo Blackford, Nina Phillips, Vada Reeder, C.T. Phillips, Sr., Edna Pauline Phillips, George Reeder, Birdie Reeder, Joe Huffman, John Walls, Nancy Walls, Wallie Fuson, Emily Cripps, Ewin Vanatta, Gail Cripps, Dortha Barnes, Bobby C. Pruitt, Rebecca Gingerich, Austin Vaughn, Becky Cantrell, Louise Winchester, Gilbert Walden, Kim Redmon, Brenda Hale, Virginia Nokes, Bobbie Houk, Katherine Conger, Clifton B. Cantrell, Jodie W. Cantrell, Johnny Cantrell, Frances Cantrell, Linnie Cantrell, Vera Hendrixson, Alan Bradford, Jim Truitt Hale

Alfred England, Helen England, Jordan Steinbach, Edward Hobson, Horace Rosson, Mary L. Collins, Lenard Gwyn, Dannie Edge, Helen Jones Mayo, Dale Scott, Judy Love Maxwell, Carl Bailiff, Carolyn Maynard, Lucille Harris, Nadine Luna, Brackett Luna, Buddy Cook, Pam B. Cook, John D. Akin, Mai Akin, B. Akin, Leonard M. Buddy Freeman, Jessie Cook, Bob Cook, Brownie Haley, William Doyle Thomason, William Paul Thomason, Green Wall, Maud Wall, Esker Harrison, Eva Harrison, T.C. McMillen, Lee Homer McMillen, Billy J, France, Alvie France, Royce L. Givens, Richie David Pack, Ricky Eston Pack, Terry Kenneth Pack, Flora E. Redmon, W.A. Cathcart, Mallow Herndon, Carl Roy Cathcart

Ewin Sandlin, Sherman Love, Martha Cathcart, Jewel Medley, Lucille Robinson, Edward Robinson, John Larry Frazier, Billie Ann Frazier, James Gantzer, H.D. Tootsie Cook, Woodrow Frazier, Dr. Jerry Puckett, and Barbara Page.

Love lights are $5.00 each. Forms are available at most banks in DeKalb County. The name of every person honored or remembered will be placed on a display board located on the south lawn of the courthouse through the holiday season.

For more information contact Iva Dell Randolph at 597-5296, Violet Fuson at 597-4483, Melanie Judkins at 597-1132, or Casey Midgett at 597-2089.

DeKalb Jobless Rate at 10.6% for November

December 24, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for November was 10.6%, down only slightly from 10.7% in October. The rate for November, 2008 was 8.1%

The local labor force for November was at 9,460. A total of 8,460 were employed and 1,000 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's unemployment rate for November was 10.3 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from the October rate of 10.5 percent. The United States' unemployment rate for the month of November was 10.0 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for November 2009 show that the rate decreased in 50 counties, increased in 36, and remained the same in nine counties.

Lincoln County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 6.7 percent, down 0.2 from its October rate. Lauderdale County had the state's highest unemployment rate at 18.6 percent, down 0.2 from the October rate, followed by Haywood County at 18.0 percent, up from 17.9 percent in October.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 7.7 percent, down 0.1 percentage point from the October rate. Hamilton County was at 8.5 percent, down 0.2 percentage point from the October rate. Davidson County was 8.8 percent, down 0.1 from the previous month, and Shelby County was 10.0 percent, down 0.1 from the October rate.

Smithville Police Department Conducts Sobriety Checkpoints

December 23, 2009
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Police Department, in an effort to make city streets safer during the holiday season, conducted saturation patrols and sobriety checkpoints on Tuesday, December 22nd.

Police say 127 vehicles were stopped on Highway 56 south. Several citations were issued for offenses ranging from speeding to drug charges.

Officer Scott Davis arrested Eula Davis and Mark E. Adams of Murfreesboro during a traffic stop. Davis was charged with driving on a revoked license and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance and Adams was charged with possession of schedule II and IV controlled substances. Davis' vehicle was also seized by the Smithville Police Department.

Meanwhile, Corporal Travis Bryant arrested Santos Acuna of Smithville for driving on a suspended license. Acuna was observed driving a 1998 Ford Explorer with a passenger side head light out. After stopping the vehicle, Officer Bryant discovered that Acuna's license was suspended.

Corporal Bryant also cited Christopher Myers into court for possession of a schedule IV controlled substance, driving on a suspended license, and reckless driving on Morgan Avenue.

K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow, while on patrol, observed a black Chevrolet Cavalier traveling 19 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. Upon stopping the vehicle, Officer Tatrow detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. After performing field sobriety tasks, David Allan Cox was arrested for a first offense of driving under the influence.

These saturated patrols and sobriety checkpoints were funded by the Governor's Highway Safety Office.

Meanwhile in other city crime news, 30 year old Christopher Shannon Mooneyham of 200 Green Acres Drive was arrested Monday, December 21st for public intoxication. According to the report, Corporal Travis K Bryant was called to the probation office where he was met by Deputy Jody Johnson, Norene Stribler and Heidi Johnson. Officer Bryant was told that Mooneyham was intoxicated and had fallen asleep in the chair. Corporal Bryant woke Mooneyham and began speaking with him. Mooneyham appeared to be disoriented and he stated that he was on medication prescribed by his doctor. He was placed under arrest and transported to the Smithville Police Department. Bond for Mooneyham was set at $1,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on January 7th.

28 year old Jennifer M Ball of 620 Anderson Ridge Road, Silver Point was arrested Monday for public intoxication. Officer Scott Davis reports that he was dispatched to 223 East Bryant Street in reference to a fight. Upon arrival, he made contact with Ms. Ball. She had an odor of an alcoholic beverage about her breath. Her eyes were bloodshot and watery, her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet. Officer Davis attempted to get her a ride home, however due to her level of intoxication and for her safety, she was placed under arrest for public intoxication. Bond for Ball was set at $1,000 and she will be in General Sessions Court January 7th.

35 year old Leslie Danette Yorke of 1025 Morningside Drive, Cookeville was arrested on Tuesday, December 22nd on a capias out of Putnam County. Corporal Travis K Bryant and Patrolman Matt Holmes went to 830 Luttrell Avenue and made contact with Ms. Yorke. Officers had prior information of a warrant for her arrest. She was taken into custody at that time without incident.

22 year old Virginia Ruth Carrier of 1243 Haley Road was arrested on Wednesday, December 23rd on one count of forgery and four counts of fraudulent use of a credit card. The arrest was made by Detective Jerry Hutchins. Bond for Carrier was set at $12,500 and she will be in General Sessions Court on February 4th.

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

Wreck Claims One Life, Injures Three Others

December 23, 2009
Dwayne Page

One man lost his life and three others were injured Tuesday night after their SUV went off Highway 70 at Dowelltown overturned and came to rest upside down in a creek.

Dead is 41 year old Troy Bain.

30 year old Dwayne Reeder, 39 year old Walter Redmon, and 27 year old Courtney Paris all of Smithville were injured and transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital

Central Dispatch received the call at 8:37 p.m.

Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol reports that Reeder was traveling east on Highway 70 in a 1997 Ford Expedition when he apparently fell asleep. The vehicle went off the left side of the road, plunged over an embankment, overturned, and came to rest on it's top in a creek. Bain and Redmon, back seat passengers, were ejected. They were not wearing their seatbelts. Reeder and Paris, in the front seat, were apparently wearing their seatbelts.

Among those responding were members of the DeKalb County Fire Department Extrication and Rescue Team, the Liberty Fire Station, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, DeKalb EMS, and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Smithville Firefighters Called to Fiddlers Manor Apartments

December 22, 2009
Dwayne Page
Smithville Firefighters Called to Fiddlers Manor Apartments

Smithville Firefighters were called to Fiddlers Manor Apartments on Walker Drive at 12:57 p.m. today (Tuesday) after a fire was reported in one of the apartments.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says actually what happened was that a woman who lives in the apartment was roasting pecans and nuts when the stove overheated, causing damage to the oven. Smoke spread throughout the apartment, but no one was injured.

As a precaution, Chief Parker says all residents of the entire apartment complex were evacuated. There was no structure damage to any of the apartments.

DeKalb EMS and officers of the Smithville Police Department were also on the scene.


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