Local News Articles

Woman Airlifted After Tuesday Morning Traffic Accident

October 14, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 48 year old woman was injured in a one vehicle traffic accident around 4:30 a.m. this morning (Tuesday) on the Cookeville Highway.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Valerie Helms Rodriguez of Beaufort, South Carolina was driving north on Highway 56 in a 2009 Chevy HHR when she failed to maintain the proper lane of travel, entered a ditch on the east side of the road, struck a driveway culvert and overturned twice. The vehicle came to final rest upright on it's wheels on the east side of the highway.

Rodriguez, who was in the area visiting relatives, says she was going to the store at the time of the accident.

She was airlifted from the scene by a Life Force helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Fisherman Drowns in Caney Fork River

October 13, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 51 year old fisherman drowned in the Caney Fork River in the area of Happy Hollow boat ramp Sunday morning.

Officials of the Putnam County Sheriff's Department and TWRA say Roman S. Grzybowski of Antioch, Tennessee was in the river trout fishing, wearing waders, when he apparently stepped in a hole. Water filled the waders and dragged him down.

According to the Herald Citizen, 28 year old Nathan John Wilson and his brother, 30 year old Nicholas R.T. Wilson both of Smyrna told deputies they were fishing when they noticed a man who was fishing downstream from them fall.

The two men took off their waders and swam to the man but by the time they got to him, he had stopped moving. They pulled him out of the water and began CPR. Paramedics later arrived

The victim was taken to Cookeville Regional Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

The Putnam County Sheriff's Department received the call around 7:47 a.m..

9th Annual Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour

October 13, 2008
Donna B. Emmons
Christine Colombarini Vessel
Claudia Lee- Paper
Tim Hintz-Chair

Enjoy unique demonstrations, engaging conversation with some of this area's premier craftspersons and the opportunity to purchase beautiful works of art at the 9th annual Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour, set for Friday, Oct. 24 - Sunday, Oct. 26, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm in nearby DeKalb and Cannon counties. This year the tour has added an extra day and extra hours as well as a new studio and new guest artists to surprise and entertain their visitors. A detailed map available by mail or on the website will serve as a guide to a weekend of leisurely touring the beautiful fall settings in rural middle Tennessee.

Bigger and better than ever, this free and fun-filled event includes 11 professional, private craft studios simultaneously open to the public for this one special weekend. Visit over 26 award-winning artists as they demonstrate their unique talents and explain how they create their stunning designs in wood, glass, pottery, jewelry, metal, concrete, textile arts, paper, fabrics, mixed media, and architectural ceramics.

Included in this year's tour is the hospitality center located at the eclectic Stella Luna Art Gallery in Smithville where visitors can see a stunning collection of distinctive crafts, while enjoying demonstrations and light refreshments.

Among this year's award-winning and published artists are William Kooienga, wood sculpture; Tim Hintz, ladderback chairs; Susan DeMay, clay; Claudia Lee, paper and books; Tom Fuhrman, glass; Meredith Novak, textile art; Louis and Christine Colombarini, clay; Arlene Knaak, clay; Cheryl Ludwig, fibers; Kem Alexander, concrete; Chery Cratty, pulp painting; Amy Potter, architectural ceramics; Breanna Rockstad-Kincaid, fibers art; Rob Harvey, clay; Randy Johns, wood furniture; Sherri G., clay; Sarah McClary, jewelry; John Sellberg, clay; Damon MacNaught, glass; T. J. Edwards, clay; Dee Vanek, concrete sculpture; Ed Wooten, glass and Shaker boxes; Sharon Kooienga, fibers; Sandre Krikke, fabrics; Timothy Weber, clay; and Sande Krikke, fabrics.

For more information or to receive a detailed brochure with map, visit www.smithvilletn.com/studiotour, email obp@smithvilletn.com, or call Tim Hintz at (615) 597-8770.

Brochures and information will be available at the Habitat for Humanity Chili Cookoff on Friday, October 24th on the square.

Two Persons Allegedly Found with Drugs After Traffic Stops by Sheriff's Department

October 13, 2008
Dwayne Page

Traffic stops by the Sheriff's Department last week led to the discovery of drugs and charges against two people.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 42 year old Lisa Michelle Pyles of Jones Mill Road, Smithville was stopped Monday, October 6th on Antioch Road by Deputies who were conducting an investigation. While deputies were trying to pull her over on Antioch Road, Pyles continued to drive approximately one mile before she pulled over. After pulling over and talking with the officers, Pyles gave consent to search her vehicle. Found under the seat of Pyles' vehicle was Suboxen, a schedule III drug. Pyles was arrested and charged with simple possession of a schedule III drug (Suboxen) and evading arrest. Pyles' bond was set at $2,000 and she will appear in court on October 23rd.

In another case, deputies received a call Friday from dispatch about a reckless driver on Highway 70 West. Sheriff Ray says officers pulled over the vehicle on West Main Street, which matched the description of the reckless driver. Deputies asked for consent to search the vehicle which was driven by 23 year old Joshua Wade Graham of McMinnville Highway, Doyle Tennessee but he refused to let deputies conduct the search. K-9 Banshee was then led around the vehicle and the dog alerted on Graham's vehicle. Graham then told deputies that he had drugs on him, which officers found in the console of his vehicle including Suboxone, Methadone, and Percocet pills. Graham was charged with simple possession of a schedule III drug (Suboxone), simple possession of a schedule II drug (Methadone), and simple possession of a schedule II drug (Percocet). Graham's bond was set at $4,500 and he will appear in court on October 23rd.

Meanwhile, detectives arrested 31 year old Wendy Michelle Steinbach of Keltonburg Road, Smithville Tuesday for theft and forgery. Steinbach allegedly stole a book of checks from a residence on Keltonburg Road. Steinbach then took approximately 25 checks to local businesses in DeKalb County and forged the victim's name to the checks and cashed them. Steinbach has been charged with five forgery counts and theft of property under $500. Steinbach's blanket bond was set at $5,000 by Judge Bratten Cook on October 9th and she is scheduled to reappear in his court on October 16th. Steinbach is expected to be charged with more forgeries at a later date.

Chapman Mobile Home Damaged in Fire-Outbuilding Destroyed

October 12, 2008
Dwayne Page

A fire Saturday afternoon destroyed an outbuilding and damaged a mobile home belonging to Jesse Chapman at 9907 Short Mountain Highway.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says members of the department were called to the scene at 5:02 p.m."Upon arrival, we found an outbuilding on fire and fully involved. It spread to a single wide mobile home that was located about 10 feet from the outbuilding. We got the fire under control at the mobile home though it spread into a back bedroom. The fire was contained to the bedroom, but the rest of the home received extensive heat and smoke damage."

Chief Green says Chapman, who is handicapped, and his wife were at home at the time of the fire, along with two grandchildren.

A passerby saw the smoke and called 911. He also stopped and assisted the Chapman's in getting out of the trailer.

Chapman and his wife were transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital just as a precaution to make sure they were okay.

Chief Green says the outbuilding and all it's contents were destroyed.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Blue Springs, and Main Station pumpers responded along with the department's service truck, DeKalb EMS, and officers of the Sheriff's Department, who helped with traffic control.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker to Hold Open Meeting on the Financial Crisis

October 11, 2008
Dwayne Page
U.S. Senator Bob Corker

You're invited to a very important and timely meeting regarding America's financial crisis with United States Senator Bob Corker. Don't miss this meeting that's open to the public on Wednesday, October 15th from 2:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. at city hall, downtown Smithville. The meeting is being hosted by the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, DeKalb County Mayor Mike Foster, and Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson. Senator Corker, who sits on the Senate Banking committee, Energy committee, as well as the Foreign Relations committee, will discuss the financial crisis and answer your questions.

HOPE for Homeowners Program Could Help Many of the 67,000 Tennesseans Facing Foreclosure

October 11, 2008

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) is urging the nearly 67,000 Tennesseans with overdue mortgages to contact the HOPE for Homeowners program which could help them refinance their loans.

“With a single phone call, many of the nearly 67,000 Tennesseans facing foreclosure may be able to keep their homes,” Alexander said. “HOPE for Homeowners is a way for homeowners to refinance delinquent mortgages if their lenders agree to participate. This program is a good step toward boosting confidence in the housing market and helping preserve the American dream for the millions of people facing possible foreclosure.”

HOPE for Homeowners, a voluntary initiative to help distressed borrowers refinance their mortgages, was established as part of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). Alexander voted for HERA, which was signed into law in July.

This program could help many of the nearly 67,000 Tennesseans who had delinquent mortgages in the second quarter of this year and are at risk of losing their homes to refinance their mortgages if their lenders agree to participate in the program. Only certain owner-occupants would be eligible to refinance their primary residences – no investors or investment properties would qualify. Homeowners must certify that they have not intentionally defaulted on their loans. Loans must have originated earlier than 2008. And borrowers are required to retire any debt on the home (such as a home equity line of credit).

HOPE for Homeowners is temporary, and will run from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2011.

Alexander said that those in trouble or behind on their mortgage payments should immediately call 1 (800) CALL-FHA, visit www.FHA.gov or speak to a counselor from a local community housing group to determine the best course of action.

DeKalb County Tigers Hold Off Upperman Bees 40-37

October 10, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Tigers held off the Upperman Bees 40-37 Friday night in Smithville to run their season record to 6-1.

After the Bees' opening drive to start the game stalled, the Tigers took the ball and drove 80 yards for their first score of the night on a three yard touchdown run by Matthew Lawrence with 6:17 left in the first period. Zach Taylor's P.A.T. attempt was no good but the Tigers led 6-0.

The Bees answered, completing a 57 yard drive on a one yard touchdown run by Quarterback Ty Fields with 2:53 left in the first quarter. The P.A.T. kick by Caleb Robichaud was good and the Bees led 7-6

Upperman added another touchdown on the first play of the second quarter on a six yard quarterback keeper by Ty Fields, capping a 50 yard drive. The P.A.T. attempt by Robichaud was no good but Upperman led 13-6 with 11:54 left in the second period.

DeKalb County marched 68 yards on the ensuing drive and regained the lead with 7:42 left in the second quarter as Quarterback Hunter Poteete rambled 16 yards for a touchdown. The two point conversion pass from Poteete to Ryan Leiser was good and DeKalb County grabbed a 14-13 advantage

Upperman mounted another scoring drive before half time and forged ahead 19 to 14 on a six yard touchdown pass from quarterback Ty Fields to J.T. Burgess with 20 seconds left.

It took only two plays and 18 seconds for the Tigers to get on the scoreboard again. After the Upperman touchdown, the Tigers got the ball on their own 38 yard line to start the drive and John Curtis took the pigskin and threw a pass to Abram Edwards. The catch and run covered 51 yards and put the Tigers in scoring position at the Upperman 11 yard line. Quaterback Hunter Poteete then hooked up with Travon Johnson on the next play for an 11 yard touchdown pass with two seconds remaining in the second quarter. Zach Taylor's P.A.T kick was good and DeKalb led 21 to 19 at half time.

DeKalb County got the ball to open the third quarter and J.J. Herriott returned the kick to the Upperman 28 yard line. The Tigers later capped the drive scoring on a 13 yard quarterback draw by Hunter Poteete with 8:27 left in the period. The P.A.T. attempt was no good but DeKalb County led 27-19.

Upperman cut the Tiger lead on their next drive, moving 87 yards in several plays. Quarterback Ty Fields' 12 yard touchdown pass to Brandon Strock put the Bees within 2 points at 27 to 25 with 5:04 left in the third quarter after the two point conversion attempt failed.

The Tigers stretched their lead again late in the third period. Matthew Lawrence capped a drive that began at the Tiger 18 yard line on a one yard touchdown run with 1:49 left. The two point conversion attempt failed but DeKalb County led 33 to 25.

Moving to the fourth quarter, the Bees, facing fourth down and three, scored on a 25 yard touchdown pass play from quarterback Ty Fields to an open receiver with 9:17 left in the game. The two point conversion try failed and DeKalb County clung to a 33 to 31 lead.

DeKalb County's Matthew Lawrence recovered an Upperman on sides kick at the Bees 35 yard line and the Tigers drove for another score. Quarterback Poteete hooked up with Travon Johnson on a 23 yard touchdown pass play with 8:23 left in the game. Zach Taylor's P.A.T. kick was good and DeKalb County led 40 to 31.

With 54 seconds left in the game, Upperman scored on a one yard touchdown run by quarterback Ty Fields. The two point conversion try failed and DeKalb County went on to win 40 to 37.

DeKalb County will host the Whitehouse Blue Devils next Friday night, October 17th at 7:30 p.m. in Smithville in an important region game. WJLE will have LIVE coverage.

Coordinated School Health Program Addressing Wellness of Students

October 10, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Coordinated School Health Program is working to help address the wellness of students in the school system.

Deanna Pursinger, Coordinator, updated the school board on services offered under the program during Thursday night's meeting. "I would like to give just a quick coordinated school health update. All the Automated External Defibrillators (AED's) have been put into all the schools and placed in cabinets close by to the offices. All of our school's have AED's. In fact, the high school has two. They have one at the vocational building and we've also put one here at the central office."

" Three of our four nurses have gotten their CPR instructor certification, so that means that they can now teach the CPR classes and get more of our faculty and staff certified which is a goal for coordinated school health this year."

" Since school has started, we've made 70 plus visits to the schools for various reasons."

" Our health screenings are complete already. And I'd like to mention that those health screenings could not have been completed without partnerships from the community and we formed lots of partnerships to get those completed. Through our health screenings, we've identified students in our system with high blood pressure. Those kids have been put on medication. That's unfortunate for the children, but that's definitely a positive that's come out of this program. We've had lots of students identified with vision problems. We've partnered with the Lion's Club and they have provided free examinations and eye glasses for students without insurance."

" I'd also like to mention that on November 11th, we are hosting a coordinated school health "Health Fair" at DeKalb Middle School from 4:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. We've got lots of people already committed. The hospital is going to do blood pressure checks and blood glucose checks. Tennessee Suicide Network Prevention is also coming. We hope that we can have a successful health fair so that we can do it again next year and offer lots of education and information. This is going to be county wide. It's going to be at the middle school, but it's going to be county wide for all students, family, and community."

In other business, Board Chairman Charles Robinson appointed three standing committees. "
Our policies provide for board committees. This is located in our board committee's descriptor code 1.300 of our policy manual. The board may operate with standing committees and special committees composed of board members. These committees will serve in an advisory capacity and shall consist of three board members, unless a two thirds majority of the vote deems otherwise. A committee shall serve no longer than the annual organization meeting of the board unless re-appointed to finish a designated task. Committee meetings shall be held in accordance with the open meetings law. Committee chairs will notify committee members, the director of schools, and chairman of the board of the time, place, and location of all committee meetings and a notice of these meetings will be posted at the central office. Board members from their experience in the private sector as business owners or employees and as parents and taxpayers bring valuable insight, observation, and experiences to this board and to the success of the school system. So as chairman, I am establishing the following standing committees: Transportation Committee- W.J. (Dub) Evins III, John David Foutch, Bruce Parsley, and Peggy Pursell. Facilities Committee- Johnny Lattimore, W.J. (Dub) Evins III, John David Foutch, and Earl Jared. Policy Committee- Joan Draper, Kenny Rhody, Bruce Parsley, and Teresa Miller. I will leave the organization of these committees as to who will serve as chairperson up to each committee. To maintain our board of distinction status, and because our board recognizes the need for this appointment, I am asking Kenny Rhody to serve as our Tennessee Legislative Network representative for the Tennessee School Board Association. Mrs. Draper and Mr. Rhody also serve as trustees of our sick bank and I am asking them to serve as a special committee with the inclusion of Mr. Parsley to investigate the procedure to include non-certified employees in our sick bank or the process needed to form another sick bank, addressing the needs of our own non-certified employees. If it requires a legislative act, I am asking Mr. Rhody as our TLN representative to inquire as to the proper way to address this at the TSBA Day on the Hill function for the 2009 Tennessee School Board Association Convention."

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix updated the school board on recent activities at her school. "From DeKalb County High School we would like to congratulate Ms. Walteen Parker. She was selected for the A.F. Bridges female coach of the year. That's a great accomplishment and we appreciate her and thank her for that."

"Our golf team has done a fantastic job this year and I want to mention some of their accomplishments. The boys set the all time nine hole school record with 142 at Southern Hills. Payne Denman shot a 29 at Riverwatch which is believed to be a school record for a nine hole match. The boys won the district for a second year in a row. They also won the regional tournament for the second year in a row. They also came in third in the state tournament this year. This is also for the second year in a row. Austin Garrett won the district tournament and he finished 18th in the state. Payne Denman won the regional tournament for the second year in a row. He also won the state tournament. That is a great accomplishment. Shay Sullivan won the McMinnville Invitation Tournament. She also won the district for the third time and she won the region for the second time. She finished fourth in the state. We're very proud of all of these students for their accomplishments."

"We just had our report cards go out this past week. We also had our parent-teacher conference and I'd like to say we had a great turnout. We really appreciate all the parents and everyone who came out to check on their sons and daughters."

"I'd also like to remind the parents that we have an abundance of before and after school help available for the students that need enrichment, tutoring, and we need the parents to encourage them to take advantage of these opportunities that we have available for them. We also have transportation available throughout the county to area drop off points in the afternoon for students that don't have a ride home."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented his written update on personnel moves since last month.

Those employed include Annette Davis, educational assistant at DCHS and Crystal Bishop and Teresa Spencer, educational assistants at Smithville Elementary School.

Jamie Wright was transferred to a Record's Clerk position at DCHS and Alisha Cheatham was transferred to a part-time Speech Language Pathologist position.

Smithville Police Charge Two Men with Assault and Theft

October 10, 2008
Dwayne Page
Ricky Shannon Nokes
Johnny Darrell Murphy

Smithville Police have charged two men with assaulting another individual and then stealing money from him on Thursday.

Ricky Shannon Nokes of Pea Ridge Road, Liberty and Johnny Darrell Murphy of Gentry Avenue, Smithville are each charged with assault and theft.

According to Detective Sergeant Jerry Hutchins, Jr. Nokes and Murphy went to the residence of Joshua Patrick to question him about text messages that were being sent to Nokes' cell phone. After Patrick asked them to leave and told them he was going to call the police, both Nokes and Murphy allegedly began assaulting Patrick and then allegedly took $126 dollars from his wallet.

Patrick, who refused transport to the hospital by EMS, later went to the emergency room by a private vehicle where he was treated and released with minor injuries.

Nokes and Murphy were later arrested. Bond for both is set at $4,000 each. Their court date is October 16th.


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