Local News Articles

Speeding Becoming a Concern at County Complex

August 28, 2012
Dwayne Page
County Clerk Mike Clayborn Points to Painted Stop Sign on Pavement
County Clerk Mike Clayborn Points to Area Where Speeding Is A Concern
Mike Clayborn Stands Near Area Where Speeding Is A Concern

Traffic control in the parking area of the new county complex has become a concern and county officials are considering options to address it.

County Clerk Mike Clayborn, who brought up the issue during Monday night's county commission meeting, said the travel lanes in front of the building lack proper signage and someone could get hurt. "We've got a big problem out there with traffic. Somebody is going to get hurt out there. I've almost gotten hit four times coming around the edge of the building. They are coming from that (Peking) restaurant and from that (On The Way) service station and they (motorists) are paying no attention. They don't even see the white stop sign (painted at the end of the travel lanes in front of the building) and we're fixing to have a horrendous crash," said Clayborn.

County Mayor Mike Foster said he and Smithville Mayor Jimmy Poss, who is also a county commissioner, are planning to speak with the city and county attorneys to see what can be done. "It's a county facility but its in the city," said Foster. Jimmy (Poss) is going to talk to city attorney Vester Parsley and we'll talk to Hilton (Conger) as to what we need to do as far as putting speed limits on that. We've talked about speed bumps and ripples. It does need something to slow it down. The worst I've seen is coming from the Farmers Market around the corner because they come through there pretty fast and its probably the same way on the other end," said Foster. There's about 550 to 600 feet through there (in front of the building). Its almost like a drag strip. I think there needs to be a set speed limit and something to slow the traffic," he added.

Driver License Renewal, Photo ID, and Duplicate Title Services Available Soon at County Complex

August 28, 2012
Dwayne Page
Kiosk for Driver License Renewal and Photo ID

DeKalb County residents may soon be able to obtain a duplicate title, renew drivers licenses, and get a photo ID at the county complex

County Clerk Mike Clayborn, during Monday night's county commission meeting, said he has been working for two years trying to obtain a contract with the state to be able to print duplicate titles in his office. Last week, state officials contacted Clayborn saying they were now prepared to offer a contract for this service. Clayborn said his office may also have the opportunity to produce new titles at some point in the future. "They wanted to include in my contract that I would do new titles, which incurs a whole lot more paperwork. I told them to go ahead and include it because I don't have to just automatically go into doing them. We can kind of feel our way through the duplicates, learn how to do them and then step up (to the new titles). But when we step up, its going to require more people. I'll need your (county commission) backing to do that. With the duplicates, we can handle that with what we've got (staff). But if we decide we want to do new titles, you've got to consider that you'll have individuals coming in. I don't know how many a day we'll do, but it'll be several. Then you have all your dealerships and they might bring in a week's work in one day. In other words, if you come in and do your title work, in three days you'll have a title instead of waiting two weeks. We don't have to go right into it. Its not something we've got to do in the next six months, or next year, or the next two years," he said.

clayborn from dwayne page on Vimeo.
Clayborn said the service of printing duplicate titles could be available in the county clerk's office by the first of the year.

Meanwhile, both Clayborn and County Mayor Mike Foster said that the county has reached an agreement with the Tennessee Department of Safety to set up a self serve Kiosk in the county complex for driver license renewal and to produce photo ID's. "All you've got to do is go in with a credit card. You'll put in your information. You'll swipe your card. It'll give you a receipt and they'll send you a renewal on your driver's license and make you a Tennessee ID," said Clayborn.

"It'll save you from having to drive to McMinnville or Cookeville to get a drivers license renewal or to go and get a photo ID," said Foster. "We've already signed a contract with them so that's a done deal. For those of you who go through airports a lot, a kiosk will be there. You punch in the numbers and the machine talks to you. It tells you what you need to do. It takes a picture and then gives you a temporary drivers license and when they check all the details, then they send you the license," said Foster.

The kiosks will be connected to the Tennessee Department of Safety's mainframe computer and will use face recognition software, comparing old drivers' license photos with the person standing in front of kiosk to insure the correct person is getting the new license.

Licenses and ID cards will not be printed at the kiosk due to security reasons.

Instead, a temporary driver's license will be printed in the form of a receipt, complete with a photo. The receipt will be valid for two weeks.

Man Arrested for Statutory Rape of a Child; Mother Charged with Child Endangerment

August 27, 2012
Dwayne Page
Bryan Thomas Thompson
Edna Jeanette Cox
William Anthony Miller
Nelson Pack Redmon
Heather Starr Trapp

A 19 year old man has been arrested for the statutory rape of a 13 year old girl and the child's mother is charged with child endangerment for allowing her daughter to have sex with the man in her home

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the case against Bryan Thomas Thompson and 48 year old Edna Jeanette Cox of Gentry Avenue, Smithville was investigated by criminal detectives of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Thompson is also wanted in Smith County for a similar offense

According to Sheriff Ray, Cox allowed Thompson to move into her home and to stay in the same room with her daughter, knowing that he and the young girl were having sex. She had even advised them to use protection. Sheriff Ray said Cox was also aware that Thompson was wanted in Smith County for possibly having sex with a minor there. The actions of Cox, according to the warrant, placed her 13 year old daughter in danger.

Sheriff Ray said that Thompson has admitted to having engaged in sexual intercourse with the 13 year old girl on several occasions beginning June 30 and knew that it was wrong.

Bond for Cox is $15,000 while Thompson's bond is $36,500. They will be in court on September 13.

Meanwhile, in other cases 35 year old William Anthony Miller of McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with public intoxication, resisting arrest, and possession of a handgun while under the influence. His bond totals $4,500 and he will be in court on September 13.

Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, August 19 the sheriff's department responded to a call of an attempted suicide on Lee Braswell Road. Upon arrival, the deputy found Miller in a field holding a 40 caliber handgun. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. Miller resisted arrest and the officer took him to the ground. Miller was handcuffed and taken to the jail for booking.

32 year old Nelson Pack Redmon of Forrest Avenue, Smithville was arrested Monday, August 20 on a fugitive from Justice warrant out of Kentucky. His bond is $50,000 and he will be in court on August 30. Redmon is being held in the county jail awaiting extradition back to Kentucky to face a child support warrant.

32 year old Heather Starr Trapp of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with failure to appear and driving on a suspended license. Her bond totals $4,000 and she will be in court on August 30.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, August 21 a deputy was patrolling on Highway 56 when he saw a stalled vehicle at the intersection of Highway 56 and Bryant Street. Trapp, who was behind the wheel of the automobile, has an outstanding bench warrant against her for failure to appear in General Sessions Court on charges of driving while her license were suspended, criminal trespassing, and shoplifting. A computer check also showed her license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation on June 15, 2011. She has a driving on a suspended license case against her pending in court.

Police Chief Releases Report on Recent Criminal Activity in Smithville

August 27, 2012
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger has released a report on recent criminal activity in the City of Smithville.

32 year old Cindy Sherrell is charged with public intoxication, possession of a schedule II controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. Chief Caplinger said that on Thursday, August 16 Officer Matt Farmer received a complaint from Larry's Discount Grocery of a person causing a disturbance. Upon arrival, Officer Farmer spoke with Sherrell who appeared to be very intoxicated. She had slurred speech and was unsteady on her feet. She was arrested and transported to the police department where upon inventory of her purse, schedule II drugs and drug paraphernalia were found. She will be in court on September 13.

45 year old Melissa Poss Petty was arrested Thursday, August 16 on a sealed indictment returned by the grand jury charging her with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. She will be in court on September 17.

47 year old Janice Lynn Johnson is charged with driving under the influence. According to the warrant, on Friday, August 17, the Smithville Police Department received a call about someone passed out in a vehicle at Bumpers Drive-In. Upon arrival, the officer saw Johnson behind the wheel with the key in the ignition. Johnson had very slurred speech and was very unsteady on her feet. Johnson said she had taken muscle relaxers. She could not perform field sobriety tasks because of her level of intoxication. She did submit to a blood test. Her court date is September 13.

45 year old Jeffery Lee Johnson is cited for simple possession of a schedule V controlled substance. According to the citation, police stopped Johnson's vehicle for a traffic violation on Saturday, August 18. When Johnson was observed reaching into his pockets for unknown items, the officer asked for and received consent to search him. The officer recovered an unmarked pill bottle containing two schedule V controlled substances. Johnson will be in court on August 29

64 year old Willie Jewel Moser is cited for violation of the open container law. Police stopped Moser's vehicle to perform a welfare check concerning a possible DUI on Saturday, August 18. The officer found a half consumed beer inside a cup holder in the vehicle. Moser's court date is September 13.

38 year old Crissy M. Evans is cited for shoplifting. On Monday, August 20 Evans was observed by a Dollar General Store employee putting items in her purse and then attempting to leave the store without paying. Her court date is September 13.

30 year old Rhonda Michelle King is cited for simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance, a driver license violation, registration violation, financial responsibility law (no insurance) violation, and leaving the scene of an accident. King was involved in a hit and run accident on Tuesday, August 21 at Village Market. After leaving the scene, King was followed by a witness until officers made contact with her. King gave police consent to search her purse and vehicle. Detective Matt Holmes found in King's purse a clear baggy containing three (3) pills believed to be hydrocodone. Her court date is September 13.

34 year old James Fredrick Summers is charged with a fourth offense of driving while revoked. On Wednesday, August 22 Officer Joey Myers stopped a vehicle on West Broad Street for having a tail light out. The license of the driver, Summers, was found to be revoked for DUI in Warren County. Summers has three prior driving on revoked license offenses against him. Summers was placed under arrest due to the likelihood of this offense reoccurring. His court date is September 12

27 year old Benjamin Adam Caldwell is charged with shoplifting, possession of a schedule II & IV controlled substance for sale and delivery and he is cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the warrants, Officer Lawrence Avera was called to investigate a shoplifting incident at Wal-Mart on Thursday, August 23. Upon arrival he made contact with Caldwell, who was wearing shoes that he had not paid for. Caldwell also had two more items that he had taken by removing the packaging. Upon searching for other stolen items, the officer found on Caldwell's person schedule II & VI drugs and drug paraphernalia. He will be in court on September 13.

32 year old Callie Lisette Howell is charged with burglary & theft. According to the warrant, Howell gained entry to a vehicle on Friday, August 24 while the victim was inside the BP Station on Highway 70. Howell allegedly opened a door to the automobile and began going through it, stuffing things under her shirt. She will be in court September 13.

25 year old Justin Clyde Hale is charged with burglary & theft. According to the warrants, Hale gained entry into and drove off in a truck from the parking lot of DeKalb County High School on Sunday, August 26. The truck was recovered later. He will be in court on September 13

24 year old Melissa Gail Andrews is charged with theft over $1,000. Andrews allegedly stole a vehicle on Sunday, August 26 and took it to AEI Recycling and sold it. The victim did not consent to the vehicle being sold. Her court date is September 13.

43 year old Timothy John Perricone is charged with domestic assault. According to the warrant, Sergeant Andy Snow responded to a possible kidnaping on Highway 56 north on Sunday, August 26. A passerby reported that a man was trying to force a boy into a vehicle. Perricone's court date is September 20.

32 year old David Allen Sullivan is charged with theft and simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance According to the warrants, Officer Stephen Barrett responded to a complaint of a possible shoplifter at Wal-Mart on Sunday, August 26. Upon arrival he made contact with Sullivan, recovered the stolen property, and found an unlabeled pill bottle on Sullivan's person that contained a schedule III & IV controlled substance. Sullivan was further cited for possession of a schedule IV controlled substance. His court date is September 20.

Meanwhile anyone with information on any criminal activity is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

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

Aldermen to Act Soon on Re-Appointment of City Judge

August 26, 2012
Dwayne Page
Hilton Conger

The term of Smithville Municipal Judge Hilton Conger ends this week and while Conger will most likely be re-appointed to a new two year term, the aldermen have not yet addressed the issue.

Conger's current two year term expires August 31st.

His salary as City Judge is $1,000 per month.

The Smithville Mayor and Aldermen are scheduled to meet in special session Monday night at 5:00 p.m. at city hall, but only for the purpose of a public hearing and second reading action on an ordinance requiring absentee only voting for city property rights voters in the city liquor referendum in November. The next regular meeting of the Mayor and Aldermen is Monday, September 17 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall. There will be no meeting on Labor Day, September 3.

The Municipal Court, up until 2002, had the same jurisdiction in city criminal cases as the General Sessions Court, and the City Judge held court several times each month with the City Attorney serving as Prosecutor.

After changes were made in the City Charter, the City Court's jurisdiction was reduced to mostly minor traffic offenses and city ordinance violations. The court now convenes usually once per month.

The City Judge, previously elected by city voters to an eight year term, now serves at the pleasure of the Mayor and Board of Aldermen, appointed to a two year term.

Conger was last elected as City Judge in 1998. He was named to his first appointed term in 2006 and re-appointed in 2008 and 2010.

The changes in the City Charter, regarding the City Court, came following a State Attorney General's opinion in the fall of 2001 that only the District Attorney General and his staff had the responsibility of prosecuting state criminal action in municipal courts.

Coffee County Escapee Captured in DeKalb County After Pursuit by Law Enforcement Officers

August 26, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mark Andrew Cope

An escapee from the Coffee County jail was captured Saturday afternoon in DeKalb County after crashing the stolen car he was driving on Bright Hill Road following a pursuit by law enforcement officers.

31 year old Mark Andrew Cope, who walked away from a work detail in Manchester on Thursday, was spotted in Warren County Saturday. He was driving a green 2003 Chevy Cavalier.

Warren County officers were in pursuit of the car on Highway 56 when the chase crossed into DeKalb County. Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and Smithville Police Department also joined in the effort to get the vehicle stopped.

Trooper Jennings told WJLE Saturday that Cope led authorities from Highway 56 onto South College Street in Smithville where an officer had blocked the road. Cope then turned east onto Dearman Street from South College Street, crossed South Congress Boulevard (Highway 56) from Dearman, and then continued east on Dearman Street. From Dearman, Cope got onto Bright Hill Road and subsequently wrecked, going off the road and hitting an embankment before stopping. Cope jumped out of the car but officers quickly converged before he had a chance to flee.

Cope was placed under arrest and turned over to Warren County authorities. No one was injured.

Tigers Maul Bulldogs 65-0

August 24, 2012
Dwayne Page
Tigers Maul Bulldogs 65-0

The DeKalb County Tigers cruised to a 65 to 0 road win at Clay County Friday night to go 2-0 on the young football season.

DC got on the board with 8:38 left in the first quarter on a ten yard touchdown pass from quarterback Lucas Phillips to Cody Puckett. The P.A.T. by Ben Driver was good and the Tigers led 7-0


In the second period, Lance Ball caught a four yard touchdown pass from quarterback Phillips with ten minutes left to put the Tigers up 13-0. The P.A.T. try by Ben Driver was no good.

With 6:38 left in the half, Chris Chapman scored on a four yard run. Driver's P.A.T. was good and the Tigers led 20-0.

The Tigers got a safety with 4:36 left in the second period as the Clay County quarterback fumbled near the goal line and the ball rolled out of the back of the end zone. The score was 22-0.

On the ensuing free kick, Will Molander raced 62 yards for a touchdown. The P.A.T. by Driver was good and DC built the lead to 29-0.

Sonni Fullilove added another touchdown for the Tigers on a 22 yard pass play from quarterback Phillips with thirty five seconds until halftime to give the Black and Gold a commanding 36 to 0 lead.

In the third quarter, Sonni Fullilove scored on a 14 yard pass play from quarterback Phillips with 5:55 left and the Tigers moved out front 43 to 0 after the Ben Driver P.A.T.

With 11:47 left in the fourth period, Devonta Milan scored on a 67 yard touchdown run. Driver's P.A.T. was good and DeKalb County led 50 to 0.

Milan scored again later on a nine yard run. Driver picked up the ball on a bad snap on the P.A.T. try and raced for the endzone, scoring on the two point conversion to put the Tigers up 58-0.

The last score of the night came on a 40 yard touchdown run by A.J. Mooneyham. The P.A.T. by Driver was good and for the second week in a row, DeKalb County has held it's opponent scoreless, this time winning 65-0.

Next Friday night the Tigers open the district schedule at Cannon County.. WJLE will have LIVE coverage from Woodbury at 7:00 p.m.

Pealer And Her Mother Reinstated at UCDD, Federal Lawsuit Settled

August 24, 2012
Dwayne Page
Ashley Pealer

The Upper Cumberland Development District has reinstated two employees who were recently let go from their jobs and has reached a settlement agreement with one of them in her federal lawsuit against the agency

Ashley Pealer and her mother Kathy reportedly returned to work earlier this week.

Ashley Pealer filed the lawsuit against the UCDD; the man who fired her, Randy Williams, who was UCDD's interim executive director at the time; and Mike Gannon, chairman of the UCDD board. Pealer claimed her personal cell phone messages and Facebook account were hacked, a violation of her Constitutional rights.

Pealer was represented by W. Gary Blackburn of Nashville.

Allegations involved violations of the Stored Communications Act and the Wiretap Act, allegedly committed by Williams and Gannon.

Pealer claimed that after she was fired, her cell phone, issued to her by UCDD, was taken from her; that some three hundred pages of her private text messages, which were stored through Verizon, were accessed by the defendants, printed and published to various persons. Pealer alleged that at least one of the defendants used her private password to invade and access her Facebook account as well. The Defendants also allegedly intercepted a private email communication to Pealer's Facebook account, according to the lawsuit.

Pealer claimed the purpose and intent of this behavior was to embarrass and intimidate her in retaliation for her refusal to participate in or remain silent about the illegal behavior of former UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins, and to determine the extent to which she (Pealer) was involved in disclosing illegal conduct to the news media.

Board members seeking reinstatement of Pealer and her mother finally received the necessary votes to forward that recommendation on to UCDD's new executive director Mark Farley.

DeKalb Unemployment Rate Climbs to 8.7% in July

August 24, 2012
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Unemployment Rate for July was 8.7%, up from 8.3% in June but still below the 9.3% rate in July, 2011

The local labor force for July was at 9,710. A total of 8,860 were employed and 840 were without work

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for July was fifth lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region. Here's how they rank highest to lowest

Pickett County- 13.8%
Van Buren-12.6%
White- 12.5%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for July 2012, released today, show the rate decreased in 20 counties, increased in 59, and stayed the same in 16.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for July increased to 8.4 percent, up from the June revised rate of 8.1 percent. The national unemployment rate for July 2012 was 8.3 percent, 0.1 percentage point higher than the June rate.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 6.7 percent, unchanged from the previous month. Davidson County was 7.4 percent, up from 7.3 percent in June. Hamilton County was 8.4 percent, up from 8.3 percent, and Shelby County was 9.7 percent, unchanged from the June rate.

Work Searches Now Required to Receive Tennessee Unemployment

August 23, 2012

Beginning September 1, 2012, the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development will begin implementation of the Unemployment Insurance Accountability Act of 2012 requiring all unemployment claimants in Tennessee to demonstrate valid work search activity and maintain a work search log. Failure to comply with the new law will result in a loss of benefits.

Notices will be mailed next week to all claimants receiving Tennessee Unemployment Compensation informing them of the new requirements to continue receiving benefits. Those receiving federal extended unemployment benefits are already required to document work search activity.

“The Accountability Act is aptly named as it raises the bar of accountability for those receiving unemployment benefits,” said Labor Commissioner Karla Davis. “Documenting three work searches each week will require a small effort, but the consequences of not doing them are very serious.”

Labor and Workforce Development will conduct random audits of 1,000 claimants’ work search documentation each week to verify work search activity. If work search claims are found to be fraudulent, the department will stop a claimant’s benefits immediately and can suspend payments for eight weeks.

Claimants are required to conduct three work searches each week. A valid work search activity is considered any of the following:

Registering at www.jobs4tn.gov and applying for jobs online

Completing a job application in person or online

Mailing a job application and/or resume, as instructed in a public notice

Making in-person visits with employers who may have job openings

Sending job applications to employers

Interviewing with potential employers in person or by telephone

Registering for work with private employment agencies, placement services or hiring unions

Using the employment resources available at Tennessee Career Centers that may lead directly to a job
Attending job search seminars, career networking meetings, job fairs or employment-related workshops that offer instruction in improving individual skills for obtaining employment

Claimants who don’t receive guidance and work search logs in the mail can find information both on the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s Internet site at www.tn.gov/labor-wfd or at the nearest Tennessee Career Center. For Career Center locations visit http://www.tn.gov/labor-wfd/cc/cccounty.shtml.


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