Local News Articles

Shoreline Cleanup Planned for Center Hill Lake Saturday, October 1

September 30, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gary Bruce

The chance to have fun while helping to preserve the natural beauty of Center Hill Lake is coming. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is once again sponsoring the annual Fall Shoreline Cleanup at Center Hill Lake and seeking volunteers for the effort.

Park Ranger Gary Bruce said this year's cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, October 1 from 9 a.m. - noon, rain or shine. Sign-in and garbage pick-up sites will be located at the Floating Mill and Ragland Bottom Recreation Areas. Participants will be provided gloves and garbage bags and assigned a section of shoreline to work. A free lunch for all participants, complete with door prizes, will be provided. Volunteers should wear work clothes and sturdy footwear and, depending on the weather forecast, pack rain gear . . . just in case.

A clean-up will also be conducted on the upper end of the lake originating at the Pinhook Recreation area near Pates Ford. Lunch will be served. Please call 597-4225 or 597-5175 for more information about that particular cleanup effort.

All participants should pre-register for the cleanup by calling the Center Hill Lake Resource Manager's Office at (931) 858-3125. Pre-registration will help planners prepare the proper number of lunches and select desired lakeshore cleanup areas. On the day of the cleanup, individuals and groups not pre-registered may still take part by signing in at Ragland Bottom or Floating Mill Recreation Area.

Organizers predict one of the best ever such events and invite all to help keep one of Tennessee's lakes one of the most beautiful in the country.

History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park, October 8th

September 29, 2011

Seats are filling fast for the Sixth Annual History Hayride at Edgar Evins State Park on Center Hill Lake, between Smithville and Cookeville, Saturday, October 8th. . There is still time to call in your reservations if you hurry! Call the park office at (931) 858-2114 or Toll Free: 1-800-250-8619. Admission is only $10 per person, including light refreshments. There is a $20 non-refundable deposit for groups of four or more.

This is a wholesome family oriented event sponsored by the Friends of Edgar Evins State Park, in partnership with park and other State employees. Nine wagon loads will leave from the park’s Visitors Center at approximately 30 minute intervals to visit nine scenes along the route where costumed re-enactors will present a story depicting real people and events from past days in the park and area. Commemorating the 150 year anniversary of the start of the War Between the States some new characters from the era of the Civil War will appear along with a few of the old favorites. In addition there will be a pre-show at the Visitors Center where participants will be greeted by an actor portraying James Edgar Evins, the man for whom the park was named.

Reservations will be for wagons leaving at staggered intervals but all participants are requested to arrive at the Visitors Center at least 30 minutes before the projected wagon departure time. This will allow time for completing the registration process and visiting the refreshments table. Admissions may be paid by cash or check.

It is advised that people prepare for cooler temperatures than at home as the breezes off the water of the lake and the moving wagons make it seem colder. Dress warmly in layers and bring a blanket.

For those wishing to make this an over-night or weekend event the park office can also take reservations for the cabins which sleep up to six comfortably. Camping at the park (both primitive and with hook-us) is also available but no reservations are required.

The Galley Restaurant at the marina in the park will offer a special for participants of the Hayride who wish to dine there before or after the event on October

Mallory Sullivan Takes Second Place in State Golf Tournament

September 28, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mallory Sullivan
Mallory Sullivan and Coach Joe Pat Cope

Mallory Sullivan, a sophomore at DCHS, earned second place in the State Class A-AA Golf Tournament at Willowbrook in Manchester Wednesday

Sullivan shot an 80 on Tuesday, just four shots off the lead, and a 73 on Wednesday for a score of 153, six shots behind the state champion Marlee Ingham of Creekwood who shot a 147 in the tournament.

Callie Mitchell, a senior at DCHS, shot a 98 on Tuesday and 96 on Wednesday for a score of 194 in the tournament.

In the boys competition, Ethan Roller, a sophomore at DCHS shot an 85 on Tuesday and 76 on Wednesday for a score of 161. The state champion is Dowling Armstrong of David Lipscomb who shot a 138 in the tournament.

Sullivan, who also competed in the state tournament last year, said she was pleased with her overall performance. "The first day I was striking the ball really good. I just wasn't there with my short game. After the round I went and practiced my putting and my chipping. The second day my short game was a whole lot better. I didn't hit the ball as good but everything turned out better. The competition this year was really hard. Players like Sara Dolmovich (Signal Mountain) and Sophia Shubert (Christian Academy of Knoxville) are really good players and to beat them gives me a lot of confidence," she said.

Sullivan said she is also proud of her fellow athletes from DCHS who competed in the state golf tournament, Callie Mitchell and Ethan Roller. "Its Callie's senior year and she made it to the state this year. I was really proud of her. Ethan has also done great all year. He just had one bad day. If he hadn't had that bad day, I'm sure he could have won," she said.

Mallory is also grateful for the community support "I would like to thank everyone who has supported the golf teams this year and to everyone who came out and watched me play today. I also want to thank Joe Pat Cope for being a wonderful coach this year and to my family for supporting me," said Sullivan.

Coach Cope said Mallory played with a lot of maturity in the tournament. "Mallory was so mature today. This is her second year at the state but she is only a sophomore. We've got a fifteen year old sophomore out there but she shot today like a seasoned pro. I was just tickled to death at the way she played," he said.

"It was Callie's senior year. She ended up in the top half. She had a couple of big numbers, made an eight and a nine which kind of hurt her but Callie has worked on her game and has come around so much. We hate to lose Callie, her being a senior. But I just want to commend her so much because in the off season she really dedicated herself and worked on her game and it paid off. It was Callie's first appearance in the state tournament and she had a great finish down there. It just goes to show what a good work ethic will do for you," he said.

"As for Ethan (Roller), he got off to a little rough start. His first nine, he had a couple of bad breaks. A couple of balls went out of bounds. They didn't fly and took a couple of bad hops and ended up out of bounds on him. It was his first year there (state tournament) and he may have had some jitters. But after that he came back and shot four over for his next twenty seven holes which would have gotten him a top five. I know its no consolation but Ethan has the type of mentality and attitude that when he went down there he expected to win and had the game to do so. He just got off to a little rough start," said Coach Cope.

You can view the golf scores online at www.tssaa.org.

DeKalb Jail to Install Video Visitation Technology

September 28, 2011
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

Families who have relatives incarcerated at the DeKalb County Jail are allowed to visit them on weekends. But the traditional face to face encounters between family and inmates separated only by a glass barrier will soon be a thing of the past as the department prepares to install video visitation technology.

Sheriff Patrick Ray, in an interview Tuesday with WJLE, said video visitation technology has the potential to maximize security during the visitation process, minimize the introduction of contraband into the jail, and limit the number of corrections personnel required to monitor each visitation. The system may also be used to video conference between the jail and the courthouse during certain court proceedings. Under this system, prisoners could remain in their cells and communicate with the judge in the courtroom by way of video technology. This would keep the sheriff's department from having to transfer the prisoners from the jail to the courthouse for every scheduled court appearance. The system, however, could not be used for all court appearances or in every case.

Under the current system, family visitations are permitted on Saturdays from 7:00 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. for male prisoners and Sundays from 7:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for females. According to Sheriff Ray, the jail typically houses an average of 95 to 100 inmates per day and a majority of those prisoners have visitors pay a call on them each weekend.

Family members wishing to visit with a prisoner are required to schedule an appointment on Fridays. The same will be true with the video visitation.

Sheriff Ray said that during a traditional visitation, the inmate is typically escorted from their cell to a special visitation room, where a face-to-face encounter takes place. The inmate and family members are separated by a glass barrier and each party must use a telephone to communicate with each other. Each visit requires a corrections officer to accompany the inmate from the cell to the visitation area. It also demands that someone monitor the visit for its entire length, normally up to 30 minutes. With a steady stream of visitors arriving during the course of the day, the demand placed on corrections staff is considerable.

The county commission Monday night authorized Sheriff Ray to proceed with plans to obtain the video equipment through Securus Technologies, at no cost to the county. The county already has a contract with Securus to provide telephone service that inmates use, on a pay per call basis, to phone relatives from the jail under an account established between Securus and the family. Securus receives proceeds from those calls and pays a commission to the county for the privilege of providing the service. "We have a contract with Securus Technologies, our inmate phone service. They have been our service provider for many years. We sat down with them two or three months ago and talked about video visitation for the inmates at the jail where the inmates can stay in the cell and not have to be transferred to a different part of the jail for the visitation. The family members will be able to come into an office in the jail and view through a television monitor the inmate in the cell." said Sheriff Ray.

After the system is installed, Sheriff Ray said the department will have the option of offering families video web cam visit opportunities so they can make contact with inmates from their homes or other locations. "This will actually open up the visitation to where if we should decide to offer it, a family member could actually be in California or somewhere else and do a visit through the Internet and a web cam to communicate with an inmate at the jail under certain conditions," he said.

Sheriff Ray said the ability to video conference during court proceedings will also be useful. "Another feature that we're going to have with this is our courtrooms. We hope, in the near future, after we get our video equipment in at the jail to have video to the courtrooms where the judge can sit and interact with the inmates by video instead of us having to transport them from the jail up to the courthouse. That will provide a safer environment for our correctional officers and the public. We're using probably four officers who escort the prisoners back and forth to court and on Thursdays we have at least fifteen to twenty inmates we take up there. This gives the inmates a greater opportunity to pick up contraband along the way. We usually find stuff that they've picked up, whether it be cigarette butts or something like that which they try to bring back into the jail. We usually find that every week. By doing the video conferencing, that will slow some of that down (contraband problem). The inmate will actually sit in the cell and do his court pre-trial stuff by video conference. It won't be used during hearings or anything like that and it won't be used for trials. It'll only be used for pre-trial stuff with the judge. It might be a bond reduction, to appoint them an attorney, or to reset a court date, and things like that. By doing this video conferencing, we won't have to carry them all the way over there to the courthouse, " he said.

According to Sheriff Ray, the county will not be out any extra expense for installing and using this equipment. "We had talked about the expense of this and what Securus Technologies could propose to us. They came back with about $80,000 worth of equipment that they are going to donate to us. It goes right along with our contract that we've had with them for many years. They have also guaranteed us our commissions that we've had over the last twelve months. That will not change. The county will get a certain amount of money for Securus being a service provider. They (Securus) will come in and do all the installation of the video equipment at the jail," he said.

Sheriff Ray further explained how the inmates make use of the telephone system . " Securus Technologies is our inmate provider and the family will set up a billing program with them (Securus). It has been costing them $1.50 for a fifteen minute call. Long distance calls have been costing a surcharge rate of from $3.45 to $3.95 plus 95 cents a minute. But now (under an updated contract agreement) there's only going to be a $2.00 surcharge plus 10 cents a minute. It is going up a little for local calls but on the long distance calls, it'll be a lot cheaper. They (inmates) have a phone in the cell. We turn on the phones at certain times. An inmate is then able to place a call to a family member who has an account with Securus Technologies. They can talk for fifteen minutes and then the phone call is terminated. But the inmate can call right back and it will cost them $1.50 for another fifteen minutes. Every call under this system is recorded where we can go back and listen if we have a problem. They can keep calling as long as there is money in the account. We also spot check through some of them just to make sure they're not planning escapes or something like that," said Sheriff Ray.

County to Consider Changing Regulations for New Beer Permit Applicants

September 27, 2011
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County has a rule forbidding the storage and sale of beer within 2,000 feet of schools, churches and other places of public gathering.

Opponents of that regulation believe it is too restrictive and some have asked members of the county commission to consider changing it.

The commissioners are expected to have a workshop soon to discuss the pros and cons and then decide whether any change should be made. During their discussions, the commissioners may also review regulations of other towns and counties, including the City of Smithville, in helping them make their decision.. The minimum distance requirement in Smithville is 400 feet from the primary entrance of an establishment selling beer to the primary entrance of a place of public gathering,

The current controversy centers around Jewel Redmon's new store, known as Jewel's Market and Pizza at 600 North Congress Boulevard. Redmon wants to sell beer there but his store is apparently a little too close to the new First Assembly of God church, which was recently built just up the road on Highway 56 north.

The DeKalb County Beer Board is scheduled to meet next Thursday, October 6 at 7:00 p.m in the basement courtroom of the courthouse to consider Redmon's beer application, filed in the name of Viva Gail Johnson.

According to Redmon, the store building, which he recently purchased and refurbished, is seventy feet short of meeting the distance requirements, measuring "as the crow flies" but he said it is in compliance if the measurement is taken by way of the highway.

Redmon said he believes the property ought to be grand fathered since the store building had long been there before the church and because of the fact that the former owner of the store had a beer license. The business, however, had been closed for several months and the license of the former owner had since expired. Redmon claims the board should take into consideration that the store property was tied up in bank foreclosure proceedings involving the former owner and no one could have bought the store and sold beer during that time. Redmon believes he should not be penalized because of that situation.

Redmon further claims that he has improved the value of the property and that even his closest neighbors to the store location don't object to his selling beer

And as for the distance requirement, Redmon pointed out that another store across the road (Village Market) is licensed to sell beer and that business is even closer to the church than his establishment. Beer board members last month explained that Village Market is in the city and Smithville has different distance regulations than the county.

Board members last month voted to delay action on the application because the public notice was not properly advertised and to ask county attorney Hilton Conger to render a legal opinion on this license application at the next meeting..

This latest controversy comes two years after another store lost its permit when the county beer board learned that the business did not meet the minimum distance requirement.

Here's how that story unfolded

The DeKalb County Beer Board, in July 2009, voted to deny an application for an off premises permit to the owner of D & D Market at 7166 Short Mountain Highway, because the store is only 840 feet from the Mount Pisgah Free Will Baptist Church.

The problem for the beer board was that in November 2008, it granted an off premises permit to the owner of Nicole's Market at 7024 Short Mountain Highway, which is only 1,447 feet from the Mount Pisgah Free Will Baptist Church.

Members of the beer board said they were unaware that Nicole's Market did not meet the distance requirement when they approved the application, assuming that the applicant understood the rules when he filed. No one from the community appeared before the beer board at the time to object and the board apparently made no attempt to verify the distance between the store and the church, until shortly after the controversy came to light.

So after denying D & D Market's application in July 2009, the board also voted to schedule a hearing to consider revoking the license of Nicole's Market.

County Attorney Hilton Conger took the position that the erroneous permit issued inadvertently by the beer board to Nicole's Market could legally be revoked without invalidating the county's distance requirement.

In October, 2009 the beer board , following a hearing, voted to revoke the off premises permit of Nicoles Market.

Members of the DeKalb County Beer Board are Harrell Tolbert, Frank Thomas, Dick Knowles, Jim Stagi, Mack Harney, Robert Rowe, and Edward Frazier.

Metal Thefts Increasing in DeKalb County

September 27, 2011
Dwayne Page
Patrick Ray

With prices for metals rising, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has seen a dramatic increase in the numbers of metal thefts across the county in recent months

Sheriff Patrick Ray, in an interview Tuesday with WJLE, said thieves are stealing metal goods and selling them to scrap yards. He is asking that if you should become a victim of such a theft, please report it as soon as possible, because the scrap yards usually crush those items quickly.

"Over the last five or six months we've noticed an increase in our scrap metal thefts. As a matter of fact, these types of thefts have overtaken burglaries. Very rarely lately have we worked a home invasion. Most of our thefts are scrap metal. Its because metal prices have increased. Its also a good way for a thief to commit a crime and actually get away with it. Its very hard to prosecute these types of crimes. A lot of people are mistaken on what the scrap yards are required to do. When one of our detectives gets a report of a theft, he will call around to the area scrap yards. The only thing we can do is if we have a suspect, we check with the scrap yards to see if that individual has brought any scrap there," said Sheriff Ray.

Once a customer delivers scrap metal to a recycling center or scrap yard, Sheriff Ray said the product is only identified by how much it weighed in, so its important that these types of thefts be reported as soon as they are discovered.. "On their ticket, it has pounds. Pounds of metal. Pounds of copper. Pounds of aluminum. It doesn't identify it as any particular kind of metal, such as copper pipes, car hoods, rims, etc. It doesn't have a description of it. It only tells us how many pounds of that type of metal was brought in. So if the workers at the scrap yard don't remember what that customer brought in or they no longer have it on the scrap yard, then its up to us to find out what they brought and maybe go back and ask questions and conduct interviews with others to find out. The only thing the scrap yard is required to do is, for example, if copper is a precious metal, then they are required to hold that copper for five days. They withhold payment to whoever brought it in for the five days. They have to wait before they get a check. They have to hold it in case something comes up. Then we can go look at it. As far as any other scrap metal, anyone can bring it in there and sell it to the scrap yard, they can take it straight off the truck and crush it. Of course if its stolen goods then the evidence is gone once its crushed," said Sheriff Ray.

The types of goods being stolen lately range from farm equipment to automobiles, according to Sheriff Ray. "We've had all kinds of different things stolen from farm equipment to roof sheeting on a house. Anything that's made of metal they are going to pick up. We've had reports of vehicles that had broken down on the side of the road where thieves had loaded them up and taken them to the scrap yard. According to the law, certain model vehicles don't need titles so they can be taken in for scrap right then. We've had reports of vehicles setting out in open fields and during the night thieves go out there, cut the fence, back up there, hook a log chain to it, drag it out and take it to the scrap yard the next day. Batteries. That's another thing we see, especially at boat ramps where there is not a gate attendant or a lot of visitors going in and out. They (thieves) will pull up there, pop the hoods on them or bust the glass out, steal the batteries and carry them to the scrap yard and sell them there for the lead in them," he said.

Sheriff Ray urges property owners to be wary of anyone approaching you offering to do any clean-up work around your place "We ask everybody who may have individuals come to your house asking if you need your place cleaned up, to say no unless you know that person," he said.

You're also encouraged to report suspicious activity in your neighborhood. "We ask you to call 215-3000 which is the central dispatch and they will have one of the deputies at least go check it. Once they (thieves) have loaded up that stuff and they carry it to the scrap yard, within ten minutes it could be crushed and gone. If you see someone picking up scrap metal somewhere, try to write down their license tag number. It could be someone committing a theft," said Sheriff Ray.

To reduce the chances of your becoming a victim, Sheriff Ray urges you to secure your property as best you can ."I've been told that scrap metal prices are going to be even higher this winter so we're expecting more thefts," he said.

County Commission Pays Tribute to Eagle Scout Brady Evans

September 27, 2011
Dwayne Page
Ronica Evans, Brad Evans, Brady Evans, County Mayor Mike Foster

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution honoring Eagle Scout Brady Evans.

County Mayor Mike Foster read the resolution: "Whereas, it is fitting that the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor should announce their pride, respect, and honor in the young people of our community who so capably fulfill their requirements and duties to reach lofty goals and levels of achievement.

Whereas, Brady Evans has performed the years of tasks to work his way to the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America. Brady Evans has worked to a level achieved by a very select few and has earned the Eagle Award.

Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to thank Brady Evans, his family, other scouts who helped and his leaders for the honors they have brought to themselves and DeKalb County.

Now, therefore be it resolved by the DeKalb County Commission that September 26, 2011 be officially named Eagle Scout Brady Evans' Day.

Be it further resolved that this accomplishment be spread across the records of this meeting and preserved as a lasting part of our appreciation to Eagle Scout Brady Evans"

Foster, in mentioning some of Brady's accomplishments said that "Brady is a 2011 graduate of DeKalb County High School with an honor's diploma. He is a member of the BETA Club, Science Club, and Future Business Leaders of America. He was also named Rotary Youth of the Month for October, 2010. His Eagle project was building an amphitheater at Edgar Evins State Park. He asked for donations to build the project and received over $1,200 in donations to complete it. Brady has been active in Scouts since he was in the first grade. He earned the Arrow of Light, the Cub Scouts Highest award in 2004. He has served as Troop #347's senior patrol leader for the past year. Brady enjoys camping, canoeing, and he has completed 47 different merit badges. In 2010 he attended the National Boy Scouts Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia as a member of the Middle Tennessee Council contingent. They camped there for ten days with over 50,000 other scouts from around the United States and several countries. He is currently attending Tennessee Tech in Cookeville, majoring in business," said Foster.

More Persons Arrested for Stealing Metal Goods and Selling as Scrap

September 26, 2011
Dwayne Page
Gary Christopher Ponder
Aron Dewayne Ponder
Nicholas Cody Walls
Mickey Guinn
Joshua Lionel Jones
Daniel Lee Taylor
Tracy Michelle Vincent
Jeffery Lynn Sanders
Brittney Danielle Barnes
James Dallas McMillen, Jr

More persons have been arrested by the Sheriff's Department, accused of stealing goods made of metal and selling them as scrap

In the latest cases, 24 year old Gary Christopher Ponder and his cousin 33 year old Aron Dewayne Ponder both of Old Mill Hill Road, Dowelltown are each charged with one count of theft of property over $500, two counts of theft under $500, and one count of theft over $1,000. Bond for each is $25,000 and they will be in court October 6.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Friday, September 9 the Ponders went to a farm on Wilder Hollow Road in the Pea Ridge community where they allegedly took a calf feeder, a horse drawn rake, two air conditioner units, a smoker grill, two kitchen sinks, cook stove, cook oven, radiator, rim, air compressor, two black kettles, and one hundred pieces of twelve feet 5V roofing, all valued at $4, 770.

Ten days later, on Monday, September 19, Sheriff Ray said that the Ponders went to three different properties on Tabernacle Road and allegedly stole items from each location. At one place the Ponders allegedly took a house jack, double row planter, and adjustment for a plow, half of a corn grinder, tractor hitch, valve, pry bar, battery, two setter trays, cultivator pieces, plow pieces, wheel, lawn mower deck, and a scraper blade, all valued at $810.

At a second location on Tabernacle Road, the Ponders allegedly took from the bed of a pickup truck, a hydraulic jack valued at $20..

From the third location on Tabernacle Road, the Ponders allegedly took gutter pipe, two fence posts, a five foot gate, exhaust pipe, and aluminum scrap, all valued at $177.

Meanwhile, 26 year old Nicholas Cody Walls of Coconut Ridge Road, Smithville and 34 year old Mickey Guinn of West Spring Street, Smithville are each charged with two counts of theft of property under $500. Bond for each is $6,000 and they will be in court on September 29.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy responded to a report of a theft in progress at a business on East Broad Street, Smithville on Tuesday, September 20. Upon arrival, the officer found Walls and Guinn loading a truck with items taken from the business including rolling steps, a rolling cart, and a solid steel shock, all valued at $220.

Sheriff Ray said a deputy had taken a report earlier that day of items stolen from the same business on East Broad Street. Walls and Guinn were also charged in that case accused of taking items from the business including five metal uprights, valued at $500. The stolen items were sold to a local recycling center where Walls and Guinn received a total of $94.30.

31 year old Joshua Lionel Jones of Hodges Road, Smithville and 46 year old Daniel Lee Taylor of Earl Avenue, Smithville are each charged with theft of property over $1,000. Bond for each is $4,500 and they will be in court on September 29.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, September 21 a deputy was called to a burglary in progress on Dale Ridge Road. Upon arrival, the officer found two men loading items from a barn. The two men, Jones and Taylor, claimed they had permission to be doing this but the officer called the man identified by Jones and Taylor as the owner but he denied owning any property on Dale Ridge Road. Items taken from the barn included a horsedrawn turnplow, three rims, a small engine, 30- nine foot steel pipes, 15-ten foot steel pipes, structural steel, and miscellaneous scrap metal, all valued at $1,040.

31 year old Tracy Michelle Vincent of Cedar Street, Liberty is charged with being a fugitive from justice. Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, September 21 his department learned that Vincent was wanted in Warren County, Kentucky for child neglect. She has been charged with being a fugitive from justice. Vincent is being held without bond. She will be in court on October 6.

39 year old Willard Darrell Brown of Anthony Avenue, Smithville was recently issued citations for driving under the influence and failure to maintain proper lane of travel. He will be in court on October 13.

According to Sheriff Ray, Brown was injured after being involved in a motor vehicle accident on Vaughn Lane. Brown was traveling east in the wrong lane causing another vehicle to collide with his automobile. Brown was taken to the hospital to be treated for a back injury. Brown was believed to be under the influence of an intoxicating drug. He submitted to a blood test.

37 year old Jeffery Lynn Sanders of Lincoln Street, Smithville is charged with escape. His bond is $30,000 and he will be in court on September 29

Sheriff Ray said Sanders was in General Sessions court on Thursday, September 22 and the judge revoked his bond. After being returned to a holding area at the jail, Sanders asked a correctional officer for permission to go to the restroom. As the correctional officer opened a door, Sanders ran out of the cell area, trying to escape. He was quickly detained.

23 year old Brittney Danielle Barnes of Belk Road, Smithville is charged with evading arrest and failure to appear in criminal court. She has been ordered to serve ten days in jail. She will then be allowed to make a $5,000 bond on the failure to appear charge. Her bond is $3,500 for evading arrest. She will be in court September 29 on the evading arrest offense. Barnes will be in criminal court in the failure to appear case on October 7

Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, September 25 a deputy went to Cill Street to serve a state warrant on Barnes for failure to appear. Having prior knowledge that Barnes was at this residence, the home of her great grandmother, the officer knocked on the door. Barnes' great grandmother answered. When the deputy asked if Brittney was there, the woman replied "no she is not". Brittney's mother then came to the door telling the officer that her daughter was in Warren County. While the officer searched the residence, central dispatch received a call from a witness stating that Brittney had jumped from a window at the rear of the home. About ten to fifteen minutes after the search began, a Smithville Police Officer found Barnes inside the home, hiding in a bedroom. Barnes admitted knowing she had a warrant against her.

63 year old James Dallas McMillen, Jr. of Bright Hill Road is charged with a second offense of DUI and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. He was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law. McMillen will be in court on September 29. He is under a $5,500 bond.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Monday, September 19, a deputy responded to a traffic accident on Evins Mill Road where the driver of an automobile involved in the crash had left the scene. Witnesses told the officer that the driver of this vehicle was all over the roadway, before running into a ditch and damaging a fence. According to witnesses, when the man got out of the automobile after the accident he was very unsteady on his feet. Witnesses further reported that when they spoke with him, his speech was very slurred. The deputy had a computer check run on the tag information and obtained the name and address of the owner of the vehicle (McMillen). He then went to McMillen's home and spoke with him. McMillen allegedly admitted to being involved in the accident and leaving the scene. The officer detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on McMillen. He initially consented to submit to a blood alcohol test but changed his mind before arriving at the hospital.

Fire Destroys Home on Joe Turner Road

September 25, 2011
Dwayne Page

A fire Sunday morning destroyed the residence of Robert and Tressia Luna at 327 Joe Turner Road in the Jefferson Community.

Central dispatch received the call around 5:15 a.m.

Assistant Fire Chief Roy Merriman told WJLE that the Luna's were in Nashville visiting family at the time of the fire so no one was at home and no one was hurt. He said the Luna's son and daughter-in-law, who live close by, were awakened by a noise. They looked out and saw the fire and then reported it.

Members of the Keltonburg, Belk, and Blue Springs stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Three Local Industries Poised to Create Jobs

September 25, 2011
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster

Although DeKalb County's unemployment rate remains high at 9.5%, the area economy may get a boost in the coming months as at least three local industries are reportedly planning to add some new jobs.

County Mayor Mike Foster shared the news during an all-committees meeting of the county commission Thursday night. Foster also plans to talk about his industry visits for September with Shiroki, Foutch Industries, and Star Manufacturing during the county commission meeting Monday night.

While the industries themselves have made no formal announcements, Foster told WJLE Friday that he is encouraged by what he has heard in his recent meetings with them. "We met last week with three of our local industries and they were all pretty positive about their situations. I think they're seeing some increases in orders which seems to be a good omen that they will be hiring some people to do this extra work. Some of it is long term, but some of it may not be (long term). I think maybe 150 to 200 new jobs will be created. Some of them will be over a two year period. They (local industries) are currently upgrading some equipment," said Foster.

"We have met with the industries and talked with TVA and Rebecca Smith of the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development about some incentives (for industries). The state incentives are pretty well based. If they hire 25 new jobs and if they add about a half a million dollars in equipment, then they can get some training incentives and tax incentives from two or three different sources. We met with them last week and the week before and I have another meeting with them on October 5 to go over some of the details. They (industries) are trying to get some help (with) some of the tax rates on their equipment and some tax incentives on new jobs that are hired. They can get some tax benefits on that, some benefits on their income tax, and taxes on equipment," said Foster.

Some new jobs are apparently already being created according to Foster. "I think its (job creation) is already happening. I talked to a guy in one of the stores the night before last (Wednesday) and he was saying that he had gone to work at Star (Manufacturing) so that's a good indication that they are already hiring. I think they (Star) are going to hire in the neighborhood of 20 to 25 or maybe 28 new employees. I think that will be done right away. They (Star) got some orders from some large national companies and I think that has spurred that (job creation). I think they are actually already hiring. I think at least one of the others (industries) should be (hiring) within the next two weeks. I think the companies will have announcements on that. One of the other industries will be (adding new jobs) between now and 2013," said Foster.

The DeKalb County August unemployment rate was at 9.5%, down from 9.7% in July but up slightly from 9.4% in August 2010.

The local labor force in August was at 10,120. A total of 9,160 were employed and 960 were without work.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for August tied with Cannon for fourth lowest among the fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland region .



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