Local News Articles

Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Pageants Set for Saturday

April 10, 2012
Dwayne Page
Reigning Junior Miss Kelsey Sueanna Hedge
2011 Little Mister Trevor Matthew Kirby
2011 Little Miss Addison Puckett

The annual Little Miss & Mister and Spring Blossom Pageants will be held Saturday, April 14, beginning at 4 p.m. at DCHS gymnasium. The Little Miss & Mister will feature children between the ages of four and six and the Spring Blossom will include young ladies in grades six through eight.

Fourteen year old Kelsey Sueanna Hedge of Smithville, daughter of David and Trina Hedge, is the reigning Junior Miss.

The retiring Little Mister and Miss are six year old Trevor Matthew Kirby, son of Cindy and Clent Shehane and seven year old Addison Jean Puckett, daughter of Jimmy and Anita Puckett.

The pageants are sponsored by the Smithville Women's Club.

This year's event will feature eight contestants in the Little Mister, twenty six in the Little Miss and eighteen in the Spring Blossom.

Practice for Little Mister and Little Miss this Friday, April 13th, starting at 5:30 p.m. at the DCHS Gymnasium. Spring Blossom rehearsal is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

On Saturday, doors will open at 2:30 p.m.. Little Miss and Little Mister contestants must be present by 3:30 p.m.. Pageant starts at 4:00 p.m.

Spring Blossom will be immediately following. Contestants must be present by 5:30 p.m.

Admission will be $4.00 and kids under age three and contestants will be admitted free.

Concessions will be available.

Studio Six Photography will be doing photos.

For more information details please call 464-7910.

Another Arrest Made in Recent Burglary

April 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Johnna Michelle Maynard
Lucille Killian Wright
Danny Ray Ponder
Christina Marie McClain
Elsie Mae Judkins
William Albert Warren

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested another person in the recent burglary of a local business on Highway 70 east.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that 26 year old Johnna Michelle Maynard of Banks Pisgah Road, Smithville is charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. She is also cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. Maynard was arrested on Tuesday, April 3. She will be in court on April 18. Her bond is $10,000.

Sheriff Ray reports that on or about March 17, Maynard served as a lookout while another person (Willie Ray Murphy) broke into a business on East Broad Street, taking several items. She is accused of helping in the commission of the theft.

During her arrest, Maynard told a drug detective that she had two needles in her bra and a bottle of xanax in her body cavity. A female correctional officer removed those items from Maynard. Found were eight and a half lorazopam pills (2 milligrams) and five lorazapam (1 milligram) pills along with the needles.

Maynard is the third person charged in this case. 28 year old Matthew Malachi Lawson of Haley Road, Smithville and 29 year old Willie Ray Murphy of West Bryant Street, Smithville are also charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. They were arrested on Friday, March 23.

According to Sheriff Ray, "Murphy went around to the side of the building (a business) and busted out a glass door. He then entered the business. While Murphy was in there, he took out some power tools for concrete work. Lawson, who brought Murphy to the business, sat in the vehicle and served as a lookout person. Lawson then left and later returned to pick up Murphy and the stolen equipment".

50 year old Lucille Killian Wright of Ragland Bottom, Sparta is charged with violation of an order of protection. She was arrested on April 3. Wright will be in court April 19. Her bond is $1,500.
Sheriff Ray reports that a deputy, while responding to a complaint of a female threatening another person at Ragland Bottom, found Wright causing the disturbance. By being near the person who had taken out the order of protection against her, Wright was found to be in violation of the order.

50 year old Danny Ray Ponder is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court April 19. Sheriff Ray reports that on Wednesday, April 4 a deputy was called to a location on Old Mill Hill Road, where someone had reportedly stolen some metal. Upon arrival, the officer found Ponder to be the suspect. He also saw metal roofing in the bed of Ponder's truck. The deputy asked Ponder if he had permission to take the metal. Ponder replied "no".

33 year old Christina Marie McClain of Earl Steel Road, Brush Creek is charged with two counts of forgery. Her bond is $3,000 and she will be in court on April 19. She was arrested on April 5. Sheriff Ray said that two checks, which were stolen from a location in Smith County, were forged and cashed at an Alexandria business last month. He said that on Thursday, March 22, McClain passed a forged check on an account in the amount of $185.15. The victim stated that she had not signed the check nor authorized anyone else to sign it. Four days later on Monday, March 26, McClain passed another forged check in the amount of $240 at the same business.

43 year old Elsie Mae Judkins of Jefferson Road, Smithville was named in sealed indictments returned by the grand jury last week, charged with aggravated burglary, theft over $1,000, burglary, and theft under $500. Her bond is $20,000. Judkins was arrested April 5 and she will be in court May 25.

77 year old William Albert Warren of Holiday Haven Road, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court June 14. Sheriff Ray reports that on Sunday, April 8, Warren's pickup truck was stopped by a deputy after the officer saw it traveling in the middle of the roadway on Short Mountain Highway. Warren had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and his speech was slurred. He was very unsteady on his feet and he could not perform any field sobriety tasks. He did submit to a blood alcohol test. Warren told the officer that he had consumed three beers.

TDOT Announces Traffic Switch on Hurricane Bridge

April 9, 2012
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Transportation has announced that on Tuesday during non-peak hours the contractor for the Hurricane Bridge project on SR-56 over the Caney Fork River will be switching traffic on the bridge to the other side. There may be delays during the traffic switch, and THP will assist with traffic control. Once the switch is over, the bridge will remain at one lane under signal control with the same weight restrictions.

Smithville Police Make Arrest In Prescription Fraud Case

April 9, 2012
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger

Smithville Police have arrested a local man in a prescription fraud case.

20 year old Chase Groshon of Evins Mill Road, Smithville is charged with passing a forged prescription at Rite Aid Pharmacy. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on April 12.

Smithville Police Chief Randy Caplinger reports that Groshon allegedly passed a forged prescription for roxicodone 30 milligrams (150 pills) using the name of Nashville physician Dr. Gita Mishra. A total of $125.88 was paid for the prescription by Groshon and $61.98 by Tenn Care. The incident occurred in December.

Smithville Police became aware of the incident after Murfreesboro Police Detectives made an arrest of another man there on drug charges who implicated Groshon as the source of the narcotics. Police investigated Groshon and determined that he was not a patient of Dr. Mishra and that he had passed the forged prescription here.

23 year old Christine Moore is charged with domestic assault. Her bond is $2,500. Chief Caplinger reports that early Saturday, March 24 just after midnight police went to a residence on South Mountain Street in response to a 911 hangup call. The officer arrived and found Moore, along with a man and a five year old child. It was determined that an altercation had taken place between Moore and the man. He said it started as a verbal argument earlier in the evening but later turned physical when she allegedly smacked the man in the face with her open hand and had allegedly hit both the man and the child with a belt.

27 year old Rhonda Goff and 31 year old Nicka Barrett were cited for shoplifting on Friday, March 23. They will be in court April 12. Chief Caplinger reports that a Walmart employee saw the women putting items from the store in a purse. After being stopped the women allegedly produced the stolen items from their purse.

Meanwhile, Chief Caplinger wishes to thank local businesses who donated food, cash, and prizes for the recent "Night out with the Police and Fire Department" get together with the public.

Special thanks to Florence & White Ford, El Rancho Mexican Restaurant, Tractor Supply, O'Reilly Auto Parts, Advance Auto Parts, Dollar General Store, Family Dollar, Gentleman's Barber, The Tannery, Bumper's Drive-In, Potter's Home Center, Tangles Salon and Spa, Wal-mart, DeKalb Community Bank, and Liberty State Bank.

Easter Egg Hunt Held Saturday at Greenbrook Park

April 7, 2012
Dwayne Page

The AmVets Post 101 Ladies Auxiliary hosted the 5th annual Easter Egg Hunt at Greenbrook Park on Saturday for children up to twelve years old.

The event also included an egg coloring contest, a coloring book contest, and refreshments.

Prizes were awarded in three age groups, one to four years old, five to eight years old, and nine to twelve years old.

The Easter Bunny also made an appearance during the Easter Egg Hunt

Two DeKalb County Men Charged in Sparta Armed Robbery

April 7, 2012
Dwayne Page

Two DeKalb County men were taken into custody in Warren County Wednesday morning after allegedly committing an armed robbery at the Sparta Discount Drug Store in White County.

34 year old Christopher Morris Stanley and 33 year old Ricky Allen Ashford, II were reportedly arrested separately after a foot chase off Shady Rest Road near the VFW in Warren County. They are being held in the White County Jail facing charges of aggravated robbery and aggravated assault. They will also face charges in Warren County for trying to flee from authorities.

Stanley and Ashford allegedly robbed the pharmacy at gunpoint, demanding cash and drugs. The incident occurred after 9:00 a.m.

The Sparta Expositor reports that according to police, the store clerks described the suspects as dressed in dark colors with long sleeves, gloves and ski masks. They also said one suspect had a handgun, and the other had a device that appeared to be a taser. Before officers arrived, the suspects reportedly fled the scene in a black Chevrolet Impala heading north on Spring Street in Sparta. A description of the vehicle was reported to White County authorities and a BE ON THE LOOKOUT or BOLO was issued. The car was later spotted by a Warren County constable near Rock Island.

The Southern Standard reports that "officers converged on the area and a chase ensued onto Shady Rest Road, which runs nearly parallel with Sparta Highway just outside the McMinnville city limits."

The men abandoned the vehicle on foot into the woods between Shady Rest and Sparta Highway. One of the men was soon apprehended and the other man was captured after a tracking dog led officers to him. The men were found with cash, drugs, and a handgun.

City May Set Up Porta Potties For Swimming Pool Crowds This Summer

April 6, 2012
Dwayne Page

Should porta potties be set up to accommodate anticipated larger crowds at the Smithville Municipal Swimming Pool this summer?

The aldermen Monday night decided to check with the health department to find out if inspectors would approve porta potties, even if only on a temporary basis until the city decides if it wants to build a permanent restroom facility there.

Restrooms are already available at the golf course for swimmers but after an increase in pool activity last summer, Alderman Steve White said more restroom facilities are needed. The issue has been raised more than once in recent months but so far no action has been taken.

Alderman White, who presided over the meeting Monday night in Mayor Taft Hendrixson's absence due to an illness, brought up the subject again. 'We talked about this back in December, and here it is April and we're still not any further along than what we were then," said White

Alderman Danny Washer suggested that since pool season opens soon, the city should look into the possibility of setting up porta potties, at least for this year to gauge how much they are used and to perhaps look at a long-term fix for next year, if there is a need. "To see how its going to work out, why not get porta potties for this year, because its going to push us right now," said Washer. "Try porta potties that are handicapped accessible. They have them. They come with sinks in them. They maintain them and everything. Try that for this season and see how that works out and that will give us plenty of time to see what we need to do for next year," said Washer.

Alderman White objected to the porta potty idea, saying he thought it might pose a sanitary health concern and environmental risk to the pool, especially if vandals were to turn them over. "I would be definitely against the porta potties just because of the sanitary part of it, with it being a temporary thing, and the vandalism thing. I'm also pretty sure that the porta potties would not be approved by the health department either," said White.

Alderman Gayla Hendrix said porta potties might be the answer in the short term, especially during peak usage times at the pool, until a plan can be drawn up and proposed for permanent restroom facilities. She said the aldermen need to see a plan that includes costs estimates and where such a building would be erected on the grounds. "As he (Washer) was saying for this season, maybe try this especially during the busiest weekends. But we need to see a plan. We discussed maybe something like they have at the lake, concrete blocks with maybe two women and two mens (restrooms). Where are you going to put it? Are you going to put it in front of the pool? Are you going to put it behind the pool? We don't have a drawing. We don't know what we're looking at. We don't know how much money and pool season starts in six weeks," said Hendrix.

Alderman White replied "What I'm talking about is something similar like we did out there at the airport (park). With our employees doing most of the work, probably five to six thousand dollars would fund a four commode bathroom."

Alderman Hendrix asked "Why don't we check on the cost of having the handicapped accessible porta potties for the busiest times and weekends at the pool? Then Hunter (Hendrixson) can look up what it cost to build the bathrooms at the airport park. We can look a little bit closer at the pool area and come up with a feasible place to put it. I think the front of the pool would not be a good idea. I think that would look bad. Maybe if we can get an estimate on prices and get a design and a place, it might be something we can have completed by the end of the season. We're coming up here and discussing it but we're not bringing any concrete information," said Hendrix.

Meanwhile, Alderman White said existing bathroom stalls at the golf course will have to be modified to make them handicapped accessible, but he added that this would not be too expensive.

The city is also apparently making plans to purchase a portable chairlift to make the pool more handicapped accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

ADA requirements were to have been met by March 15th, but officials say the U.S. Justice Department has granted the hotel industry at least a 60-day extension for complying with a new rule aimed at making existing hotel pools compliant. City officials say that extension also applies locally.

Beer Board Keeps VFW on Suspension for at Least Another Month

April 5, 2012
Dwayne Page

The VFW Club will be without a beer permit for at least another month.

Quartermaster Thomas Skelenka appeared before the DeKalb County Beer Board Thursday night to inquire about when the VFW can get back its permit. Until then, the club cannot sell beer.

The beer permit was suspended last month following an undercover investigation into allegations of illegal sales of liquor. Agents of the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission raided the VFW club on the Sparta Highway March 15 seizing gambling machines, a raffle prize, and cash.

Operators of the VFW allegedly kept selling liquor, even after letting their liquor license expire.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said he was instructed by former beer board chairman Mack Harney to take the VFW's beer permit after operators of the club were issued citations for selling liquor without a license and for possession of gambling devices. Sheriff Ray said he retrieved the permit and surrendered it to the county clerk, pending a final decision by the beer board.

Skelenka told the beer board that while the club can remain open, it cannot survive financially without a beer permit. He said membership has dropped off and unless business picks up and new members can be recruited, the club, which has been in operation since 1946, could go bankrupt and close its doors.

Beer Board members Thursday night voted to have county attorney Hilton Conger attend the next meeting in May to render a legal opinion on how to handle the situation with the VFW since the allegations have to do with liquor and gambling, something the beer board has no control over. The question beer board members want to know is whether the actions of the VFW constitute a violation of their beer permit and whether the beer board should impose further sanctions or civil penalties.

AS WJLE first reported last month, Special Agent Brad Allison said the investigation by the ABC began after complaints surfaced about the VFW. "The Alcoholic Beverage Commission received an anonymous complaint about the VFW in Smithville selling liquor without a license. The complaint was given to the ABC Cookeville Office who researched to see if the VFW currently had a liquor license and they did not. At that time they executed an undercover operation at the establishment and were able to purchase liquor from the bartender inside the VFW. After purchasing the liquor, they then prepared and executed a search warrant on Thursday, March 15. At that time during the search warrant, there were approximately fifty bottles of liquor that were seized; four gambling machines; several envelopes with various amounts of money in the envelopes with some labeled "race boards", some labeled "dice". There was a TV seized that was in a box labeled "raffle" with the amount of the price for the raffle tickets written on the box," said Allison

As a result of the investigation, bartender Brian Soye was cited for unlawful sale of alcohol and quartermaster Thomas Skelenka was issued citations for storage of alcohol for sale and possession of gambling devices. All are misdemeanor offenses.

Beer Board Member Takes Issue with County Commission

April 5, 2012
Dwayne Page

As the DeKalb County Beer Board voted Thursday night to issue permits to five businesses, one member spoke out against the county commission for the way they went about changing the minimum distance regulations in February.

Second district beer board member Frank Thomas said he wasn't pleased that the county commission voted to make the change on a night when two members of the commission, previously opposed to it, were absent. "The wool was pulled over our (beer board members) eyes by changing the distance from 2,000 to 800 feet. It was sneaked in on us," said Thomas.

Even though the issue was not on the agenda, the commissioners in February, by a vote of seven to five, adopted a motion to reduce the minimum distance requirement from 2,000 feet to 800 feet between stores seeking to sell beer and places of public gathering such as churches and schools.

Last December, some members of the commission tried to change the distance requirement from 2,000 feet to 400 feet but that proposal died on a seven to seven tie vote. All members were present that night but eight votes were needed for passage and County Mayor Mike Foster refused to break the tie.

"The commission voted on it and had a tie vote (in December)," said Thomas. "The county executive could have broke the vote (tie) either way but he wouldn't. He said he didn't want to make nobody mad either way. But he didn't give a damn who he made mad down here (beer board). But then it come up again (in February) when they (county commission) found out two of them wouldn't gonna be there at the meeting. One of them (commissioners) had to be out of town on a trip. The other was out of town on account of sickness,' said Thomas

The 2,000 foot distance regulation is the maximum allowed under state law and it had not been changed since the county adopted it in October 1939, until the meeting in February.

During Thursday night's meeting, the beer board voted to issue an on and off premises permit to Viva Gail Johnson at Jewel's Market and Pizza at 600 North Congress Boulevard; to Araceli Godinez Soto of Nicole's Market at 7221 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville; and to the North Alabama Bank and Bank of Lincoln County for Back 9, LLC doing business as Riverwatch at 167 Highland Trail, Sparta (DeKalb County)

The beer board also voted to issue an off premises permit to Jesus Villa at the Stop Market , LLC at 3794 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville; and to Debra Sacran of D & D Market at 7166 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville.
All applicants apparently meet all the requirements, including the new minimum distance regulations.

The vote was four to one to issue a permit to Jewels Market and Pizza, Nicole's Market, and D& D Market. Board member Frank Thomas asked for a roll call vote and he "passed" when his name was called. These three businesses had been unable to sell beer under the 2,000 foot rule.

The vote was five to nothing to issue permits to the Back 9, LLC, and the Stop Market. Thomas voted in favor apparently because those locations have had permits to sell beer in the past and now have new operators making application.

Meanwhile, two other businesses are seeking an on and off premises permit to sell beer, the Company Store near Cove Hollow and the Sharpe Lodge on the Cookeville Highway. The beer board Thursday night accepted the applications and will take a final vote on issuance of the permits at the next meeting in May. The Company Store already has an on premises permit, but is now seeking to sell beer for consumption off the premises as well.

In other business, the board accepted the resignation of long time member and chairman Mack Harney of the seventh district, who stepped down after last month's meeting. The board also named member Edward Frazier as the new Chairman and Robert Rowe as Vice Chairman.

Sixth district board member Harrell Tolbert last month announced his resignation from the board. Because of redistricting, Tolbert has been moved from the sixth district to the fifth district and can no longer serve the sixth district as a beer board member. The county will have to appoint a new member to succeed both Tolbert and Harney.

Darrin Vincent To Speak at Chamber Banquet

April 5, 2012
Darrin Vincent

Darrin Vincent of the award-winning bluegrass duo, Dailey and Vincent will be the keynote speaker for the Chamber of Commerce Membership Dinner and Awards Banquet set for Tuesday, April 24 at the new County Complex, 732 South Congress Boulevard. Vincent and his daughter Victoria will also be providing musical entertainment for the program.

Dailey and Vincent took home seven awards at the 2008 International Bluegrass Music Awards Show including Entertainer of the Year and Album of the Year.

"We are excited to again host this enjoyable and informative event. This year, we are celebrating our 49th year as a Chamber. We invite you to share in this fun-filled night of dining, entertainment, and the latest updates from the Chamber including the introduction of our new Board members and 2012 Officers,” said Chamber Executive Director Suzanne Williams.

The special evening begins at 5:30 PM with a “Silent Auction.” The dinner and program start at 6:00 PM. Dinner music will be performed by Tomomi McDowell. Victoria Vincent will sing the National Anthem as Boy Scout Troop #347 present the flags. The delicious meal will be prepared by Chef Jason Evans of The Inn at Evins Mill. The Leadership DeKalb Class of 2012 will serve the meal.

Leadership DeKalb Alumni will announce their “Legacy” and “Community Leader of the Year” awards.

Corporate Sponsors for this event are Caney Fork Electric, DeKalb Community Bank, DeKalb Community Hospital, DTC Communications / DTC Wireless, FirstBank, Liberty State Bank, Middle Tennessee Natural Gas, Regions Bank, and WalMart.

Please contact the Chamber office at 597-4163 for more information, to donate a silent auction item, door prize, or to become a Corporate Sponsor. Banquet tickets prices are $25 per person and can be purchased by calling the Chamber or from the Chamber Board of Directors.


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