Local News Articles

Fifty Five Indicted in Undercover Investigation by Sheriff's Department

February 3, 2012
Dwayne Page
Joshua Bain being loaded into patrol car by correctional officer Kenneth Ray

Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department spent the better part of the day Friday rounding up defendants charged in a 2010-11 undercover drug investigation.

Forty nine of the fifty five people named in sealed indictments handed down by the grand jury Monday are charged with selling drugs ranging from dilaudid, suboxone, hydrocodone, methamphetamine, roxycodone, morphine, cocaine, oxycodone, xanax, heroin, and marijuana. Three of the people indicted were found with meth labs and three others were indicted on theft charges.

Many of those arrested Friday were brought to the county fire department's main station on King Ridge Road which served as the sheriff's department's outlet for booking the defendants during the day.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, a total of seventy seven drug buys were made through this investigation. "This is our 2010-11 drug round up that we're doing today (Friday)," said Sheriff Ray. "These are undercover buys that we've made during that time span. We tried (in December) to do our indictments through the grand jury but for some reason something came up and we had to put it off," he said.

"We have made seventy seven total drug buys in this roundup. There have been thirty two buys of dilaudid, fourteen of suboxone, nine of hydrocodone, five of methamphetamine, five of roxycodone, three of morphine, three of cocaine, two of oxycodone, two buys of xanax, one heroin buy, and one buy of marijuana," he said.

"There were a total of forty nine drug defendants along with the three meth lab defendants, and three people charged with the thefts which makes a total of fifty five defendants in this roundup. The three defendants with meth labs, we couldn't charge them at the time that we found the meth labs for various reasons," said Sheriff Ray.

"On the drug buys, we made them in different areas of the county including east of Smithville from Ragland Bottom to the western part of the county around Alexandria and both the northern and southern parts of the county. We also conducted undercover drug buys around the Short Mountain Road area and in the city limits of Smithville," he said.

"Some of these buys were in the drug free zone or school zones which are drug free. What that actually means is that when we charge somebody with that (violation of the drug free zone) it ups it (felony charge) a class. So if somebody gets charged with a C felony, it ups it to a B felony. Its also (must serve) 100% of the jail time (upon conviction). The drug free zone is 1,000 feet of any public or private school, preschool, child care agency, public library, recreational center, or recreational parks such as a ballpark or something like that," said Sheriff Ray.

"I want to thank my department for the job that they are doing in our county. I am very proud to employ people with the professionalism and the desire to work at their jobs so that a difference can be made for the citizens of the county to enjoy their quality of life. Undercover drug operations such as this one today, our day to day drug arrests and burglary and theft arrests are the work that I have promised the citizens of DeKalb County and I am very proud of what we have accomplished thus far," he said.

I encourage anyone who knows anybody that is selling drugs to call our drug tip line at 464-6400. We're also on the web at www.dekalbsherifftn.com. which has places (links)on the left hand side of the web page where you see "crime stoppers" and "stop drug dealers". You can get on there and share your information. We can gather it off of there. You can contact me at the jail and tell anything that you know. Everything is confidential," said Sheriff Ray.

WJLE will release the names of the defendants once they are made available from the sheriff's department.

Jimmy Poss Planning to Run for Mayor of Smithville

February 3, 2012
Dwayne Page

Two persons have picked up qualifying petitions from the DeKalb County Election Commission Office to run for offices in the Smithville Municipal Election this summer.

Jimmy W. Poss, who currently serves as a county commissioner in the seventh district, plans to seek the office of mayor.

Scott Davis, a former Smithville Police Officer, has picked up a petition to run
for alderman in Smithville.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 19. The qualifying deadline is Noon, March 15.

Meanwhile, Dowelltown Mayor Gerald Bailiff has picked up a petition from the election commission office to seek re-election while Dowelltown Alderman Joe Bogle has also obtained a petition and plans to seek another term.

The Dowelltown Municipal Election will be held on August 2. The qualifying deadline is April 5
In Dowelltown, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected. The seats are currently held by Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Aldermen Joe Bogle and Elizabeth Redmon.

Kirkland Smallwood Wins County Spelling Bee

February 2, 2012
Dwayne Page
Mark Willoughby and Charles Robinson Congratulate Spelling Bee Winners
Kirkland Smallwood Wins County Spelling Bee
Christian Sisk Takes Second Place in County Spelling Bee

Kirkland Smallwood, an eighth grader at DeKalb West School, won the 9th annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee Thursday night at DeKalb County High School.


Smallwood, the 13 year old son of Jimmy and Jennifer Smallwood of Liberty was among thirty nine students from the fourth grade to the eighth grade who participated in the contest.

He correctly spelled the words "extemporaneous" and "cholera" in the fourth round to claim the championship.

Eleven year old Christian Sisk, a fifth grader at Northside Elementary School, was the runner-up in the contest. His grandparents are Donald Arnold and Rosie Arnold of Smithville.

Students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Northside Elementary School recently competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition.


Along with students from thirty nine other counties, Smallwood and Sisk will compete in the Middle Tennessee Regional Spelling Bee sponsored by Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz and Belmont University. The regional bee will take place on Friday, March 2, 2012 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C.

The purpose in sponsoring the County Wide Spelling Bee is to "help students improve Spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives".

Participants in this year's County Wide Spelling Bee were:

Northside Elementary School:

Fourth Grade-Anna Chew, Isaac Cross, Braxton Hutchings, Katherine Malone, Raiden Martin, Logan Speaks, and Malia Stanley

Fifth Grade- Madi Cantrell, Malone Fletcher, Molly Hall, Dulce Marcel, Ashley Phillips, Christian Sisk, Isaac Walker, and Derek Young.

DeKalb Middle School:

Sixth Grade- Kayla Belk, Olivia Fuson, Haley Martin, Allison Maynard, Shauna Pedroza, Hunter Speaks, and Justin Stanick

Seventh Grade- Alexis Cantrell, Timothy Cassinera, Reagan Patton, Skylar Pease, and Alyssa Sewell

DeKalb West School:

Fourth Grade- Lexy Gammons, Christian Trail, and Kelsey Wade

Fifth Grade-Callie Mulloy and Thomas Tippin

Sixth Grade-Mark Mace

Seventh Grade-Brandy Rock and Casey Vickers

Eighth Grade- Madison Hayes, Mary Mofield, Kirkland Smallwood, and Morgan Vickers.

Ten students advanced to the second round including Malone Fletcher, Justin Stanick, Brandy Rock, Kirkland Smallwood, Christian Sisk, Reagan Patton, Madi Cantrell, Haley Martin, Morgan Vickers, and Malia Stanley

Four students made it to the third round including Kirkland Smallwood, Christian Sisk, Reagan Patton, and Morgan Vickers

Kirkland Smallwood claimed the championship in the fourth round.

Christian Sisk, Reagan Patton, and Morgan Vickers were brought back for a fifth and sixth round to determine who would take second place.

Christian Sisk correctly spelled the word "carbohydrates" to secure the runner-up spot.

Map Shows Closeup View of State Representative Redistricting Split in Smithville Area

February 2, 2012
Dwayne Page

As WJLE has reported in recent weeks, State Representative Mark Pody's district will take in about a third of DeKalb county including all of the sixth district, almost all of the seventh district including part of the City of Smithville, and portions of the second and fifth districts. Representative Terri Lynn Weaver will represent the rest of DeKalb County.

Click the following PDF link to see a closeup view of the Smithville area split between Pody's 46th district (Yellow) and Weaver's 40th district (Purple)

DekalbHouse Maps 42x56.pdf (1.51 MB)

Voter Registration Deadline Approaching for March 6 Primaries, Election Commission Releases Sample Ballot

February 2, 2012
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission reminds persons wanting to vote in the March 6 DeKalb County Democratic Primary and Tennessee Presidential Preference Primaries that Monday, February 6 is the deadline for voter registration in person.

The election commission office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on the first floor of the courthouse, room 104. The phone number is 597-4146.

Meanwhile, Early Voting for the March 6 elections begins on Wednesday, February 15 and ends on Tuesday, February 28. Early voting hours are Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.; Thursdays from 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.; and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until noon. All early voting will take place in the basement courtroom of the DeKalb County Courthouse. Closed February 20 for President's Day.

Remember, as a voter you must declare which primary in which you intend to vote. For example, if you declare your intention to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary, you cannot vote in either the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary or the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable). Likewise, if you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary and the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable), you cannot vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary

The election commission has also released a sample ballot. Click the PDF link below to view the sample ballot.

DekalbPPP-Newspaper.pdf (26.99 KB)

If you choose to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary you may vote for one of the following candidates:

Michele Bachman
Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman
Gary Johnson
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Charles "Buddy" Roemer
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum

The Republican ballot also lists the names of Delegates At Large for Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney (Committed and Uncommitted) as well as Delegates in the 6th Congressional District for Gingrich, Paul, Perry, and Romney (Committed and Uncommitted).

If you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, the only name listed is Barack Obama and Uncommitted.

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary ballot features the Assessor of Property race. The candidates are listed as follows:

Timothy "Fud" Banks
Scott E. Cantrell
Bryan Keith

Constable candidates are on the ballot in the following districts:

3rd District:
Wayne Vanderpool

4th District:
Paul Cantrell

5th District:
Mark Milam

6th District:
Richard Bullard
Carl Lee Webb

7th District
Johnny King

2012 DeKalb Relay for Life Kickoff Coaches vs Cancer Basketball Game

February 1, 2012
Relay for Life

The 2012 DeKalb Relay for Life Kickoff Coaches vs Cancer Basketball game will be held at DeKalb County High School on Tuesday, February 7 at 6:00 p.m. DCHS will be hosting Cannon County. Everyone has been affected in some way by cancer. It’s a terrible disease and has no respect of a person. The American Cancer Society’s dedication to research, their lobbying of insurance companies for free early detection screenings such as mammograms, pap test and colonoscopies, providing wigs for ladies undergoing chemotherapy treatment, prosthesis for mastectomy patients and so many other wonderful services have brought health and hope to so many people. These services are provided by the generosity of hard working volunteers and to those that unselfishly give their money to insure that the American Cancer Society continues to be a friend to all, whether you are a cancer patient, survivor, or a caregiver of a patient.

Please come out to the ballgame to show your support for this wonderful non-profit organization and to say thanks to DeKalb County High School boys and girls’ basketball teams and the cheerleaders for participating in the 2012 Coaches vs. Cancer basketball game.

The American Cancer Society staff and volunteers will be in the lobby of the gym with information on how you can participate in DeKalb County’s Relay For Life to be held on June 8th, 2012 at Greenbrook Park. Lilac colored bracelets (lilac is the color for ALL cancers) with a “cancer saying”, plus purple and white pom-pom shakers will be sold to raise money and a donation bucket will be passed throughout the crowd at the ballgame.

Everyone is encouraged to wear pink (for breast cancer awareness), and survivors are encouraged to wear purple. Thank you DeKalb County for all you do to support your county’s Relay For Life!

For more information on how you can get involved check out www.facebook.com/DeKalbRelay or email us at dekalbrelay@gmail.com.

Teachers of the Year Named at Each School

January 31, 2012
Dwayne Page
Smithville Elementary Teacher of Year-Beth Cantrell
Northside Elementary Teacher of Year-Bethany Rigsby
DeKalb West School Teacher of Year-Jane Watson
DeKalb Middle School Teacher of Year-Karen Pelham
Donna Emmons-DCHS Teacher of the Year

The DeKalb County School System has announced it's "Teachers of the Year" at each of the five schools in the county.

This year's honoree are Beth Cantrell, a kindergarten teacher at Smithville Elementary School; Bethany Rigsby, a third grade teacher at Northside Elementary School; Karen Pelham, an eighth grade teacher at DeKalb Middle School; Jane Watson, a fifth grade teacher at DeKalb West School; and Donna Emmons, a teacher at DeKalb County High School.

Three of these five teachers will soon be selected at the system-wide level to compete for regional honors in the Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for grades Pre-K to 6 said "Again this year, we're going to participate in the Teacher of the Year program, which begins on the school level, moves to the system level, the regional level, and finally to the state level.

"In pre-kindergarten through fourth grade, Teachers of the year are Beth Cantrell from Smithville Elementary and Bethany Rigsby from Northside Elementary. One of them will be selected to represent DeKalb County at the regional level.

"In grades 5 through 8, the teachers of the year are Jane Watson from DeKalb West School and Karen Pelham from DeKalb Middle School and one of them will represent DeKalb County at the regional level."

"In the 9th through 12th grade, which is DeKalb County High School, Donna Emmons is the Teacher of the Year and she will represent DeKalb County at the regional competition. Emmons teaches English I, Journalism, and advises the student media program, Tiger Media. She has been a teacher in the freshman academy since its inception (now in its 6th year).

Should these teachers win at the regional, they will represent DeKalb County at the state level in March.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year Program is designed to promote recognition, respect and appreciation for teachers; to stimulate interest in teaching as a career; and to encourage public involvement in education.

This program is sponsored annually by the Tennessee Department of Education and the Niswonger Foundation.

The Tennessee Teacher of the Year represents Tennessee at the National Teacher of the Year competition, which is sponsored by the Council of Chief State School Officers and Scholastic, Inc.

Teachers of the Year are selected competitively through five cycles: Building, System, Field Service Center Region, Grand Division and State; and from three categories (levels of teaching); Grades Pre K-4, 5-8, 9-12.

Teachers selected at each cycle receive local recognition and awards underwritten by local sources. State recognition/awards include a banquet honoring the nine State Teacher of the Year finalists and certificates of appreciation from the Governor. In addition, the State Finalists and the State Teacher of the Year receive cash awards from the Niswonger Foundation.

County Property Tax Collections at 46.5% as of January 31

January 31, 2012
Dwayne Page
Trustee Sean Driver

DeKalb Countians have less than a month to pay their property taxes for 2011 without penalty.

Taxes are due to the trustee's office by Wednesday, February, 29th. After that date,
penalty and interest begin to accrue at a rate of 1.5 percent per month.

Property taxes from 2010 may be paid at the trustee's office through March 31st. After that, they will be turned over to the clerk and master's office and subject to additional fees.

Trustee Sean Driver said about $3.4 million of the expected $7.4 million-plus in tax rolls have been collected so far or 46.5% as of Tuesday, January 31. But, Driver added that collections are expected to pick up significantly during the next four weeks.

Driver said taxes may be mailed in, paid in person, or by debit or credit card either in the trustee's office or on-line at www.tennesseetrustee.com. " We are offering credit and debit card processing through the Business Information Systems for the property owners of DeKalb County. You may pay your property taxes using a VISA, MASTERCARD, or DISCOVER card. It can be handled on-line, in the Trustee's Office, or by phone."

Driver explained that a 2.75% convenience fee will be added to your tax bill, if you take advantage of on-line payment with a debit or credit card or 1.5% by e-check, but the county does not collect it (additional fee). "If you want to do those payments on line, it is fast, easy, and secure. On-line payments may be made at www.tennesseetrustee.com. 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may also pay your taxes in our office at 732 South Congress Boulevard, Room 103. Our phone number is 615-597-5176. Office hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m."

Payments can also be placed in a drop box on the outside wall of the new county office complex on South Congress Boulevard. "If the last day comes and you can't make it to the post office to postmark your payment, we do have a drop box on the outside wall of our new location," said Driver.

Seniors, be sure to check with the office on the state property tax relief program. The income limit is $26,830 for single or combined household incomes. If a senior qualifies for the state program, they will also qualify for some assistance through the county. Disabled veterans and disabled homeowners may qualify for tax relief as well. If you meet the requirements you may apply in the Trustee's Office. The deadline to apply is 35 days after February 29th, 2012 or April 5th, 2012.

If you have any additional questions, come by the Trustee's office or call 597-5176.

Three cities to hold elections this year

January 31, 2012
Dennis Stanley

Three of DeKalb County’s municipalities have elections planned for the 2012 calendar year.

First on the calendar is the Smithville Municipal Election on June 19th. A mayor and two aldermen will be elected. The seats are currently held by Mayor Taft Hendrixson and Aldermen Steve White and Cecil Burger.

The qualifying deadline for the Smithville Election is NOON March 15. The last day to register to vote in that election is May 21.

Dowelltown and Liberty will have elections on August 2. In Dowelltown, a mayor and two aldermen will be elected. The seats are currently held by Mayor Gerald Bailiff and Aldermen Joe Bogle and Elizabeth Redmon.

The qualifying deadline for the Dowelltown election is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote is July 3.

In Liberty, three aldermen will be elected. The seats are held by Todd Dodd, Dwight Mathis and Paul M. Neal

The qualifying deadline is NOON April 5 and the last day to register to vote in that election is July 3.

Administrator of Elections Dennis Stanley said there are two important messages voters should remember before going to the polls on Election Day or for early voting.

“If your address has changed since the last time you voted, you should contact the local election office to begin the process of updating your records,” Stanley said. “If you show up at the polls with a voter’s card that has an address different than where you currently live, you will have to fill out a ‘Fail-Safe’ form and you may even be sent to another location to vote.”

“Also, voters are reminded that with all elections in 2012, voters will have to have a valid federal or state government issued photo i.d. to vote on the machines,” he added.

Acceptable forms of photo identification, even if expired, are any of the following: a Tennessee Driver License with your photo; a United States Passport; Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security photo I.D.; a Photo I.D. issued by the federal or state government, such as an employee I.D. from the U.S. Department of Energy with your photo; United States Military photo I.D., including a Veteran Identification Card; and a state-issued handgun carry permit card with your photo.

“If you do not bring a photo I.D. to the polls, you will vote a Provisional Ballot,” Stanley said. “Then you will have two business days after Election Day to return to the election commission office to show a valid photo I.D. If not, the ballot will not be counted.”

School Board Races Look to be Contested in August

January 31, 2012
Dwayne Page

School board races in the fifth and sixth districts will be contested in the August 2nd DeKalb County General Election.

The DeKalb County Election Commission reports that Doug Stephens and Boyd Trapp have both picked up qualifying petitions to run for the school board seat in the sixth district.

In the fifth district Incumbent school board member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III has picked up a petition to seek re-election while Kevin D. Hale, who plans to challenge Evins for the seat, has also obtained a petition.

Petitions for the fifth and sixth district school board races can now be picked up at the DeKalb County Election Commission office.

School board members, who run as non-partisan candidates, are elected in even-numbered years in August with the membership being staggered. In August 2012, members in Districts 5 and 6 are to be elected. The qualifying deadline for this election is NOON, April 5.


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