Local News Articles

County Receives $65,000 In WIC Funds to Assist with Health Department Clinic Renovations

November 9, 2010
DeKalb County Receives $65,000 In Federal WIC Funds

Upper Cumberland Regional Health Director Debbie Johnson joined other state and local officials today to present a total of $65,000 in federal funding from the United States Department of Agriculture for the Women, Infants and Children Special Supplemental Nutrition Program to DeKalb County. The funds will be used to assist with renovations at the health department clinic in Smithville to improve services to WIC clients.

“The goal of the WIC program is to protect the health of mothers and young children by providing nutritious foods and nutrition education,” said Johnson. “We are pleased the USDA has committed these financial resources to ensure the families of DeKalb County will continue to have access to these important health services.”

The DeKalb County WIC clinic has served more than 1,000 clients during the past year, which led to more than $422,000 in WIC vouchers being redeemed in the county. The federal funding award will be used for improvements to a WIC clinic room and the patient intake area at the health department facility in Smithville.

“We are thrilled to get these federal funds to assist with renovating our clinic,” said DeKalb County Health Director Frances Reese. “These improvements will help make WIC and other health department services more accessible for the residents of DeKalb County.”

DeKalb County is one of 20 Tennessee counties to receive federal funding to enhance WIC services. Funding awards are based upon the size of the county’s WIC population.

The WIC Special Supplemental Nutrition Program is a federal program designed to provide supplemental food to low-income pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, infants and children until the age of five. The program provides nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support and referrals for health care. WIC in Tennessee is administered by the Department of Health. Learn more about the program online at http://health.state.tn.us/wic/index.htm.

(Pictured Left to Right: Dr. Fred Vossel, Upper Cumberland Medical Director; Mike Foster, DeKalb County Mayor; Debbie Johnson, Upper Cumberland Regional Director; Frances Reece, DeKalb County Health Department Director)

Two City Employees Charged with Theft of Scrap Brass from Water Treatment Plant

November 8, 2010
Dwayne Page
Kenny Waymon Dyal, Sr.
Christopher Derrick Ferrell
Travis Brent Shoemake
Frederick Michael Hughes
Robert Todd Hendrixson

Two employees of the City of Smithville have been charged with theft of property after allegedly taking scrap brass from the water treatment plant on three occasions and selling it to a recycling center.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 45 year old Kenny Waymon Dyal, Sr. of Floyd Drive, Smithville and 42 year old Christopher Derrick Ferrell of North Mountain Street, Smithville are each charged with two counts of theft over $500 and one count of theft under $500.

Dyal was the supervisor of the Smithville Water Treatment Plant and Ferrell was a city maintenance employee and water meter reader. Mayor Taft Hendrixson said both men have been discharged.

The warrants against them allege that on Thursday, October 21st; Wednesday, November 3rd; and Thursday, November 4th Dyal and Ferrell took scrap brass from the city water treatment plant without consent and took it to a recycling place where they sold it for $514.50 on October 21st; $156 on November 3rd, and $677.51 on November 4th.

Sheriff Ray says the brass scrap is part of the materials being removed from the water plant, which is undergoing a renovation.

Bond for each is $9,500 and they are scheduled to appear in General Sessions Court on November 18th.

32 year old Travis Brent Shoemake of Hickman is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on November 18th.

According to Sheriff Ray, Shoemake allegedly took a four wheeler from a residence on Lower Helton Road in Alexandria on Sunday, October 24th. He was arrested on Tuesday, November 2nd.

Sheriff Ray said other thefts have been reported in that area and more arrests may be forthcoming. " The sheriff's department has received reports of thefts in the Lower Helton area, about four wheelers having been stolen. After an investigation, Shoemake was arrested for stealing one of the four wheelers. Other arrests are pending. The investigation continues."

Meanwhile, if you should be contacted about purchasing a four wheeler at a price too cheap, contact the Sheriff's Department at 597-4935.

40 year old Frederick Michael Hughes of Barnes Mill Road, Smithville is charged with unlawful possession of a schedule II controlled substance (morphine). His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on December 16th.

Sheriff Ray said on Saturday, November 6th, a deputy stopped a vehicle on Jefferson Road, having prior knowledge that a passenger in the automobile had two state warrants on him. Upon placing the passenger in custody, the officer noticed that Hughes, who was the driver, was trying to hide something in the console. Thinking it might be a weapon, the deputy asked Hughes to step out of the vehicle. He also asked Hughes if he had anything illegal in the vehicle. Hughes replied "no". The officer further inquired, asking Hughes if he had anything on his person. Hughes began emptying his pockets and two green pills, believed to be morphine, dropped from his pocket.

Hughes was then placed under arrest.

41 year old Robert Todd Hendrixson of Sparta Highway is charged with reckless endangerment. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on November 18th.

According to Sheriff Ray on Sunday, November 7th, Hendrixson got mad at his girlfriend at their residence on Sparta Highway, took his pistol from the closet, and shot several times into the ceiling of their bedroom. Hendrixson's actions placed his girlfriend and her children in danger. Two deputies responded to a 911 call and when they arrived, Hendrixson had left. Inside the bedroom on the bed were six shell casings and six holes were found in the ceiling. Hendrixson was later located at a cemetery on Johnson's Chapel Road and he was placed under arrest. Authorities have not found the gun.

Meanwhile Smithville Police report that 31 year old Randy Lee Meeks of Midway Road was arrested on Saturday, October 30th and charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license.

Sergeant Randy King saw Meeks driving a vehicle and was aware that his license were suspended. A computer check confirmed it. Bond for Meeks is $2,000.

27 year old Thomas Jacob Sims of Grande Avenue was arrested on Saturday, October 30th and charged with DUI. Sims was operating a motor vehicle that was stopped for a traffic violation. Sergeant Randy King, who made the stop, smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on Sims' person and observed him to be unsteady on his feet. Bond for Sims is $1,000 and his court date is December 16th.

25 year old Cody Lee Crips of Forrest Avenue was arrested on Saturday, October 30th for evading by a motor vehicle, driving on a revoked license and a second offense of driving under the influence. K-9 Officer Brad Tatrow saw Crips operating a motor vehicle and tried to stop him for a traffic violation. When Officer Tatrow turned on his emergency lights signaling Crips to stop, he kept going until he got to his residence. Upon making contact with Crips, Officer Tatrow noticed a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and Crips' speech was slurred. Officer Tatrow checked his drivers license through dispatch and learned they were suspended. Bond for Crips is $9,500 and his court date is November 18th.

Meanwhile anyone with information on criminal activities 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 any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Sheriff’s Department Launches High Visibility Patrols to Curb Fatalities

November 8, 2010
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Drunk driving, speeding and failure to wear seatbelts has become a deadly combination in Tennessee and DeKalb County. This year fatalities are up statewide. While not all of those have been alcohol or speed related many of them could have been prevented by simply buckling a seatbelt.

That is why Sheriff Patrick Ray has announced today the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department will be joining with the Governor’s Highway Safety Office, Tennessee Highway Patrol and other agencies across the county this holiday season to ensure motorists reach their destinations safely.

Sheriff Ray says “Our message is simple. Always wear your seatbelt, drive the speed limit and don’t drink and drive. If motorists will take just a moment and think about these things before they get behind the wheel of a car, there would be less injuries and fatalities should a crash occur.”

“All it takes is a couple of seconds to buckle your seatbelt,” said Clint Shrum Law Enforcement Liaison for the Governor’s Highway Safety Office. “If people would take this one simple and easy step before they operate a vehicle we could easily reduce our fatalities by half.”

Driving without a seatbelt is illegal in Tennessee. Driving with a BAC of .08 or higher is illegal in every state. Although fatalities were at a record low last year across the state, this year has proved to be different. Statewide fatalities are up by 53.

Sheriff Ray also said that “Drunk driving is simply not worth the risk. Not only do you risk killing yourself or someone else, but the trauma and financial costs of a crash or an arrest for impaired driving can be significant. Violators often face jail time, the loss of their driver’s license, higher insurance rates, attorney fees, time away from work, and dozens of other expenses.

The DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department in conjunction with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Governor’s Highway Safety Office and other law enforcement agencies is planning high visibility patrols in problem areas throughout the county over the holiday period. Sheriff Ray iis urging everyone to buckle up and drive smart and enjoy the holidays.

Colwell Captures Fall Fest Crown

November 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Fall Fest Queen Lauren Elizabeth Colwell
Fall Fest Queen and Runners-Up
Miss Congeniality Camry Lou Colvert White

14 year old Lauren Elizabeth Colwell captured the Fall Fest Crown Saturday night during the annual pageant at the DeKalb County High School gym. The event is sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club.

Sixteen young ladies competed for the title.

Colwell,daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville succeeds the retiring Fall Fest queen, 16 year old Victoria Dawn Tatrow of Smithville, daughter of Vickie and Corey Funk and the late Shanna Tatrow.

Meanwhile, Camry Lou Colvert White was named Miss Congeniality of the pageant. She is the daughter of Steve and Lou Ann White of Smithville.

First runner-up in the pageant was 16 year old Jasmine Marie Dimas, daughter of Lynda Hamilton of Smithville.

Alyssa Perri Carter was second runner-up. She is the 17 year old daughter of Lindi and Stephen Carter of Smithville

15 year old Zoe Elaine Whaley, daughter of Celia and Scott Whaley, was the third runner-up

Fourth runner-up went to 16 year old Katie Sue Haggard, daughter of David and Vicki Haggard of Smithville.

Others in the top ten were Kristen LaCole Smartt, the 17 year old daughter of Aaron and Paula Taylor of Dowelltown and Leslie and Dedra Smartt; Kami Denise Bogle, the 14 year old daughter of Amy Dobbs and Chris Bogle of Dowelltown; Jessica Dianne Ball, the 16 year old daughter of Donny and Mary Lou Ball; Taneah Brooke Cantrell, the 14 year old daughter of Scott and Tammy Cantrell of Smithville; and Camry Lou Colvert White, the 17 year old daughter of Steve and Lou Ann White of Smithville.

Others in the pageant were Katelyn Lou Ann Goodwin, the 17 year old daughter of Joe and Kathy Goodwin of Smithville; Ashlee Michelle Whitehead, the 16 year old daughter of Keneth and Tina Whitehead of Smithville; Macie LeeAnna Bouldin, the 16 year old daughter of Mason and Renea Bouldin of Smithville; Makayla Shea Funk, the 15 year old daughter of Amie Funk of Dowelltown; Christian Janette Atnip, the 16 year old daughter of Veronica Atnip of Smithville; and Shauna Faith Taylor, the 15 year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville.

(Top Photo: Fall Fest Queen Lauren Elizabeth Colwell)

(Second from Top: Left to Right- 3rd runner-up Zoe Elaine Whaley; 1st runner-up Jasmine Marie Dimas; Fall Fest Queen Lauren Elizabeth Colwell; second runner-up Alyssa Perri Carter; and 4th runner-up Katie Sue Haggard)

(Bottom Photo: Miss Congeniality Camry Lou Colvert White)

Jennings Crowned Autumn Princess

November 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Autumn Princess Emma Brooke Jennings
Autumn Princess and Runners-Up
Miss Manners Megan LaFrance

Seven year old Emma Brooke Jennings is the 2010 Autumn Princess.

Jennings, daughter of Chad and Shelly Jennings of Smithville, succeeds the retiring Autumn Princess Macy Elizabeth Hedge, the ten year old daughter of David and Trina Hedge of Smithville.

The pageant, featuring twenty one girls ages 7 to 10, was sponsored by the Smithville Business and Professional Women's Club and held Saturday night at the DCHS gym.

First runner-up was Anna Rachel Blair, the nine year old daughter of Keith and Amanda Blair of Smithville.

Second runner-up was Kayla Jayne Belk, the ten year old daughter of Chrisanne Belk of Smithville and Wendell Belk of Christiana

Abby Evans, the ten year old daughter of Amanda Mathis of Smithville and Clay Evans of Cookeville, was named third runner-up.

Madison Colwell was fourth runner-up. She is the ten year old daughter of Gabriel and Heather Colwell of Smithville.

Rounding out the top ten were Kyra Agee, the ten year old daughter of April and Donny Agee of Smithville; Sarah Anne Colwell, the ten year old daughter of Trent and Christie Colwell of Smithville; Santanna Nicole Ferrell, the ten year old daughter of Melissa Ferrell and Chris Ferrell of Smithville; Lacey Jade McMillen, the seven year old daughter of Chris and Kristina McMillen of Alexandria; and Abigail Hope Taylor, the ten year old daughter of Ken and Cindy Taylor of Smithville.

Nine year old Megan LaFrance was name Miss Manners. She is the daughter of Robert and Kellie LaFrance of Smithville.

Others participating in the pageant were Briona Alysse Agee, the seven year old daughter of Kevin and Jennifer Agee of Smithville; Dasia Gurley, the seven year old daughter of Allen and Felicia Taylor of Smithville; Willow Grace Godowns, the ten year old daughter of Kelly Godowns of Smithville and the late William Thomas Godowns, Jr.; Julia Grace Curtis, the nine year old daughter of Bruce and Amy Curtis of Smithville; Sophia Bonifacio, the eight year old daughter of David and Melody Mahan of Dowelltown; Katherine Anne Malone, the eight year old daughter of Kevin and Dana Malone of Smithville; Karley Annie Elizabeth Knowles, the eight year old daughter of Melvin and Teresa Knowles of Smithhville; Alexis Grace Atnip, the seven year old daughter of Veronica Atnip and John B. Atnip; Carly Vance, the eight year old daughter of Chris and Cheryl Vance of Smithville; and Shelby Sprague, the nine year old daughter of Jimmy and Johnna Sprague of Smithville.

(Top Photo: Autumn Princess Emma Brooke Jennings)

(Second from top: Left to Right- 2nd runner-up Kayla Jayne Belk, 1st runner-up Anna Rachel Blair, Autumn Princess Emma Brooke Jennings, 3rd runner-up Abby Evans, and 4th runner-up Madison Colwell)

(Bottom Photo: Miss Manners Megan LaFrance)

Dowelltown Man Seriously Injured in Friday Crash

November 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
Two involved in Friday Crash on Highway 70 east near VFW Club (Photo Provided)
Rear Axle Dislodges from Box Truck in Friday Wreck (Photo Provided)

A 34 year old man was seriously injured in a Friday afternoon crash on Highway 70 just east of the VFW Club.

The accident occurred around 12:55 p.m.

Scott Cory Harris of Cathcart Road, Dowelltown was transported by DeKalb EMS to the Midway community fire station, where he was picked up by a helicopter ambulance and flown to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said Harris was traveling west in a 1997 Nissan pickup truck and failed to maintain his lane of travel, crossed the center line in a curve, and made opposite direction sideswipe impact with an eastbound 2004 Kenworth straight box truck, driven by 35 year old David Emery Pippin of Cookeville. Pippin was driving for the J.R. "Buddy" Gaw Produce Company in Cookeville. There was no cargo on board.

According to Trooper England, the box truck broke into three sections. The rear axle dislodged and went to the southside of the roadway, while the cargo box came off the chassis and landed upside down. The truck chassis and cargo box came to rest across the highway, blocking traffic for about two hours. Motorists who came upon the scene from both directions had to be re-routed.

Harris' truck came to a stop in a ditchline on the northside of the highway.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway and Midway fire stations and the DeKalb County Fire Department Extrication Team responded. Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker also rendered assistance and Sheriff's department deputies were there. Harris had to be extricated from his truck. Pippin was not injured.

Harris also had two dogs in the truck cab with him. One of the dogs ran off after the wreck. The other was seriously injured and taken to the vet. Reports say the dog later died.

Trooper England said according to witnesses, Harris may have been going too fast, contributing to the crash. The roadway was also wet at the time. Charges are pending.

TDOT Receives Three Bids on Hurricane Bridge Rehab Project

November 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
Hurricane Bridge
TDOT Spokesperson Jennifer Flynn

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has received three bids on the rehabilitation of the Hurricane Bridge. Bids were opened on Friday, October 29th.

Jennifer Flynn, Community Relations Officer in the Chattanooga TDOT Office told WJLE Friday, November 5th that the apparent low bidder is OCCI Incorporated of Fulton, Missouri at $26.9 million dollars. Other bidders were Bell & Associates of Brentwood at $33.7 million and Kay & Kay Contracting of London, Kentucky at $33.8 million. Flynn said TDOT has 30 days after a bid opening to award a contract or reject all bids. TDOT is still evaluating these bids.

This is the second bid opening for the project. TDOT received only one bid the first time, from Bell & Associates of Brentwood, but that company's bid of $39.5 million was rejected about a month ago for being over estimates .TDOT officials have said that the estimate for the project is $12 to $15 million dollars.

Flynn said the project will entail a rehabilitation of the existing bridge. " The rehabilitation project will replace the deck at the bridge. New guardrails will be installed and it will strengthen the steel structure underneath and make the bridge a lot safer and it won't have to be weight posted anymore upon completion of the project."

According to Flynn, the contractor has until October 31st, 2013 to complete the project

The rehabilitation of Hurricane Bridge is among the projects to be funded through TDOT's Better Bridge bonding program in the fiscal year 2010-11 state budget, which was approved by the legislature this year.

Sheriff Ray Named to Open Records Counsel

November 5, 2010
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray


Sheriff Patrick Ray will represent the Tennessee Sheriff's Association as a member of the Open Records Counsel.

The counsel serves as the contact for concerns on access to local government public records under the Tennessee Public Records Act. The Office assists in obtaining public records from local government, both in guiding citizens to correct offices/officials and in working to resolve disputes regarding access to public records. The Office promotes education and awareness of the Tennessee public records and open meetings laws through direct outreach and through coordination with existing organizations. This effort is addressed both to citizens and to local governments.

"I feel very honored to have been chosen to serve on the Open Records Counsel as a representative of the Tennessee Sheriff's Association", said Sheriff Ray.

The responsibilities of the Office include: answering questions and providing information to public officials and the public regarding public records; collecting data on open meetings law inquires and problems; providing educational outreach on open records laws and open meetings laws; issuing informal advisory opinions on open records issues; informally mediating and assisting with the resolution of issues concerning records; working in conjunction with the Advisory Committee on Open Government on open meetings and open records issues; and developing forms, schedule, policies, and guidelines.

Operation Medicine Cabinet Presciption Drug Take Back Program set for Saturday

November 5, 2010
Dwayne Page

Operation Medicine Cabinet, a prescription drug take back program, will be held Saturday, November 6th from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the old Smithville Food Center parking lot on South Congress Boulevard in Smithville.

The event is sponsored by the DeKalb Prevention Coalition.

Gingie Braswell, member of the Coalition and Director of Human Resources at DeKalb Community Hospital, urges you to participate. "We want to invite everyone to bring all of their unused, unwanted or expired medications for safe disposal."

"You may ask, why should we participate?. This gives us an opportunity to have collected medications disposed of in an environmentally safe method. Pharmaceuticals have been found in our drinking water due to their disposal down house drains. So many times we don't know how to dispose of these drugs. We're looking for prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications and capsules. We really do not want to accept the liquid medications or syringes at this time."

"Every day almost 2,500 teens abuse a prescription medication for the first time and the medicine cabinet in their homes and the homes of their friends are the major sources for these drugs."

"We think this is a wonderful program. Our DeKalb Prevention Coalition is a new program and we're very happy that this is one of the first projects that we're presenting for the community. We're also working with the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, the Smithville Police Department, and the Alexandria Police Department, with assistance from the Wal-mart Pharmacy, the City of Smithville, and the Office of the DeKalb County Mayor."

Jim Hendrixson, Director of the DeKalb Prevention Coalition, said this event is being held as part of the"Upper Cumberland Operation Medicine Cabinet Month." "Most of the other counties in the Upper Cumberland region are doing theirs on the same day. Two or three of them (counties) will be doing them later in the month. We will identify the drugs, that's where the pharmacy comes in. We'll divide the drugs into controlled and non-controlled type substances. From there, they'll be collected and the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be transporting them to a crematory either in Putnam County or White County. We request that the drugs be brought in their original containers. There will be someone there to take the labels off the containers. No one will know who is turning in what. Someone will be there to make sure your name is not on the container when it's passed on."

"We really want to urge everyone to partake of this opportunity. There's a lot of reasons to do this. We want to get the temptation out of the way for the youth. There's chances of accidental ingestion by younger children. And if people (thieves) know you have drugs in your house, they're more likely to want to enter your house."

"We're part of a national and statewide organization. Our primary focus is on early intervention and prevention of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco use by youth. We have various programs such as this one that we will be putting on in the county to try to improve the situation. We meet the second Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at Haven of Hope. We're just now getting started and we're recruiting board members every day now."

For more information, call 615-785-1973.

As you adjust your clocks, change smoke alarm batteries

November 5, 2010
Dwayne Page

Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman is reminding Tennesseans to change their smoke alarms’ batteries this weekend when they set back their clocks late Saturday night for central standard time.

“Smoke alarms, even those that are hard-wired, should have their batteries replaced regularly and should be tested monthly to ensure they’re providing the proper protection,” says Tennessee State Fire Marshal Leslie A. Newman. “Use the extra hour we gain this weekend to make sure your home and family are fire-safe.”

Most home fires occur at night when people are sleeping. The smoke and toxic gases generated by a fire can cause people to sleep more deeply, narrowing the chances of surviving a fire. A working smoke alarm can double the chances of survival by increasing the amount of time a person has to escape a fire in their home.

Nationally, more than 90 percent of all homes have smoke alarms, but it is estimated that one-third of them don't work because of old or missing batteries. It is critical to replace batteries regularly – even if alarms appear to be working fine. Twice a year is recommended. This reduces the chance of alarms chirping to indicate low batteries. All too often, a battery is removed and not replaced, putting a home’s occupants at risk. There's no way to predict when a fire will occur, so even one night without an operational smoke alarm can be dangerous.
Here are some other helpful hints on the importance of smoke alarms:

• Smoke alarms should be installed in every room where an occupant sleeps, outside every sleeping area, and on each level of the home. Make sure everyone can hear the alarm and knows what it sounds like.
• Smoke alarms need to be cleaned and maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Devise a fire escape plan with two ways out of every room, and be sure to teach it to any children who live in the home.
• When a smoke alarm sounds, get out of the home immediately and go to your pre-planned meeting place.

The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. www.tn.gov/commerce/


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