Local News Articles

Hartman Gets 16 Years for Two Counts of Rape

January 24, 2012
Dwayne Page
Walter Hartman
Tammy Denise Currie
Melisha Cantrell

A 47 year old man accused of providing beer to two fourteen year old girls and engaging in sexual activity with them almost a year ago pleaded guilty to two counts of rape in DeKalb County Criminal Court Monday, January 23

Judge Leon Burns, Jr. sentenced Walter Hartman to an eight year term in each case to serve. The sentences will run consecutively or back to back for a total of sixteen years. Hartman must register as a sex offender and he will be under supervision for life. He was given jail credit from February 26, 2011 to January 23, 2012.

According to Detective Matt Holmes of the Smithville Police Department, who investigated the case, the incident occurred around 1:00 a.m. Saturday morning, February 26 at Hartman's home where a birthday party had been held Friday night for one of the girls, who is related to Hartman. The other girl is a friend who had come over for the party and had planned to stay the night.

Detective Holmes said that Hartman had given the girls three beers each for the birthday party and the girls told police that they had drank some of the beer. Later, as the girls were lying on a pallet in the floor watching TV, Hartman approached them complaining of back pain. He asked the girls to give him a back massage. After one of the girls fell asleep on the pallet, Hartman allegedly began massaging the other girl's back, before removing nearly all of her clothes, and then engaging in sexual activity with her. He also allegedly made sexual contact with the girl who had fallen asleep.

Detective Holmes said the girls later contacted police to report that they had been raped.

Meanwhile, a Dowelltown woman, accused of breaking into the home of a neighbor on four separate occasions last July while the victim was in the nursing home, has been convicted of four counts of aggravated burglary

40 year old Tammy Denise Currie pleaded guilty to all four counts in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Monday.

She received a six year sentence in each case to run concurrently. The sentences have been suspended to supervised probation by community corrections. She has been ordered to stay away from the victim and family and make restitution totaling $8,250, paying $250 monthly. She was given jail credit from July 26, 2011 to January 23, 2012

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Currie took advantage of her neighbor being in a nursing home, going to the residence on East Main Street, Dowelltown four times in July to remove items from the home.

On each occasion, Currie entered the residence through a back door

On July 5, Currie allegedly stole several dishes, antique plate sets, China sets, and other glass items valued at $200.

Three days later on July 8, Currie allegedly took more dishware from the home, valued at $150 including China cups, matching some of the dishes taken on July 5.

Currie returned to the home on July 12 and allegedly stole a box of China dolls, two bb guns, and two lamps, valued at $475.

On July 14, Currie entered the home again and allegedly took a suitcase, jewelry, and a VCR, valued at $390.

39 year old Melisha Cantrell pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance. She received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on probation, including six months supervised and six months unsupervised. Cantrell must also pay a fine of $750.

Applicants Sought to Fill Vacant School Board Seat

January 23, 2012
Dwayne Page
Members of County Commission
County Commissioners

If you reside in the sixth district and would like to fill the unexpired term of Bruce Parsley on the Board of Education you may submit your letter of interest to the county mayor's office at the courthouse.

The county commission Monday night voted to accept applications through noon on Monday, February 6.

Parsley, who was elected in August 2008, resigned as of December 31 to pursue a career as a certified teacher. His term expires August 31.

Your application can be simply preparing a letter stating your interest in being considered for the position. The person selected by the commission will serve until August 31.

The county commission will conduct interviews of all applicants for the position during an all-committees meeting on the evening of Thursday, February 23 and then choose one of the applicants to fill the unexpired term during the next regular meeting on Monday night, February 27.

Two persons, Boyd Trapp and Doug Stephens attended last Thursday night's all-committees meeting of the county commission to express their interest. They were also present during Monday nights regular meeting.

In the August DeKalb County General Election, school board members from both the fifth and sixth districts will be elected, each to serve a four year term. The qualifying deadline to get your name on the ballot in the school board races is April 5.

In other business, the county commission took no action on a school board request that the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS) be asked to do a traffic study in the school zones in Smithville.

County Attorney Hilton Conger said he had received a letter from Director of Schools Mark Willoughby concerning the school board's request but found that CTAS does not perform traffic studies. "I did check with CTAS and got a response back from them that CTAS does not do traffic studies." Conger said that he would respond to Willoughby's letter.

The school board has also made a similar request of the city, asking that City Attorney Vester Parsley and city officials seek a traffic study through the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS). No word yet on whether the city will follow through on the request.

Meanwhile, the commission, on a near unanimous voice vote, adopted a resolution to mirror a similar one approved by the local democratic party on Saturday expressing opposition to the Republican drawn state redistricting plan, which splits DeKalb County between the 40th and 46th legislative districts. Fourth district member David McDowell voted no.

The resolution states "Whereas DeKalb County has always been represented by one State Representative and one State Senator;

Whereas, DeKalb County cannot have an effective voice in state government when its citizens are split amongst multiple legislative districts (especially given the size of the county and of the newly carved segments);

Whereas, there is both a constitutional and case law requirement that lawmakers avoid splitting counties into multiple legislative districts;

Be it resolved that the Democratic Party of DeKalb County hereby asks the Tennessee General Assembly to amend the redistricting plan to keep all of DeKalb County in one Senate and one Representative district."

In a letter to County Mayor Mike Foster, DeKalb County Democratic Party Secretary Joyce Hendrixson requested that the county commission adopt this resolution as approved by the Democratic Party's Executive Committee and mass attendees on Saturday. "The Party voted to request help from the Tennessee State Legislature to address the injustice that has recently been done to the County by the proposed redistricting,' she wrote.

"I am asking that the County Commission vote to voice their opposition to the newly proposed carving up of the county. The Governor has not yet signed off on the legislation."

"David Harper, State Executive Committee Representative for the Democratic Party, 40th District, asked that a copy be mailed to the State Party by early Monday Morning. I have done that. I am asking that the Commission vote to oppose the redistricting Monday night, January 23," wrote Hendrixson.

The letter went on to state that " The new law, as is, would carve the County into two separate representative districts. DeKalb County has fewer than 20,000 citizens. One of the new districts, as is, would contain approximately 6,000 citizens and the other would contain approximately 12,000. Separately, the new districts would not provide sufficient voice for candidates to feel compelled to listen to the Citizens of the County, especially the precincts totaling approximately 6,000 citizens who would be relegated to an invisible and unvoiced status. We, the members of the Executive Committee of the DeKalb County Democratic Party, offer our signatures in opposition to the new redistricting plan. A universal voice vote of the mass attendees of approximately 150 people is also noted."

Under the redistricting plan, all of the sixth district of DeKalb County, nearly all the seventh district, and portions of the second and fifth districts would be in State Representative Mark Pody's 46th district which also includes Cannon and a large portion of Wilson County. The rest of DeKalb County would remain in State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver's 40th district, which also includes Smith, Trousdale, and a portion of Sumner County.

On another issue, the county has tried for up to three years to have caution lights erected at the intersection of US 70 and highway 83 near Kilgore's Restaurant, where several serious traffic accidents have occurred in recent years, and now comes another delay.

The state recently authorized the county to proceed with the project at the county's expense and last summer the county commission voted to seek bids for the project. The county later awarded the contract to Stansell Electric. The cost was to be around $30,000. But County Mayor Mike Foster said Monday night that the county has since learned that the Tennessee Department of Transportation is prepared to fund the project through TDOT's so called "Stop Safety Program." "We've been three years trying to get lights put up at the intersection of Highway 70 and 83. We thought we had contracted with Stansell Electric to put up those lights but when they went to get the permit to put them up they got this response" (about TDOT funding for the project).

"Many months ago, I talked to TDOT about trying to get them to put up caution lights there because we felt like it was an extremely dangerous intersection,' said Foster. We had 18-20 wrecks at that intersection. We felt like it would come under their (TDOT) guidelines to correct this extremely dangerous situation. We had applied (for state assistance) but I had not been told anything. But apparently we did get it (approval). I have now been informed that this project has been approved through the Stop Safety Program and that TDOT is currently under design and will go to bid under this program at a later date. TDOT has said that if the county wishes to pull its request from the Stop Safety program, it could but the county would be financially responsible for the work and would need to obtain the proper permits in order to proceed" said Foster.

The county commission Monday night voted to table any further action on proceeding with the project until Foster obtains official confirmation from TDOT on state funding.

In other business, the commission voted to advertise for bids on replacing the roof on the veteran's building downtown and to do an emergency purchase on an electrical upgrade there.

The commission also gave its approval to officers selected by the county fire department. This is routinely done by the commission each January. Donny Green has again been named chief and Jeff Williams is the assistant chief.

A resolution was adopted by the commission seeking state action to make the sale of synthetic drugs a felony. Several other counties have adopted similar resolutions hoping to create a movement statewide to get this approved by the legislature.

The resolution states that "Whereas, synthetic marijuana and designer stimulants have created a public health problem in DeKalb County as witnessed by the DeKalb County Emergency Medical Services and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department; and

Whereas, during a recent raid in September 2011 conducted by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, State Attorney General's Office, Rutherford County District Attorney's Office, Murfreesboro Police Department and the Rutherford County Sheriff's Department, thirty six convenience stores in Rutherford County were found to be selling synthetic marijuana and designer stimulants for up to $30 per package; and

Whereas, currently in the State of Tennessee some of these products are being sold legally while some are covered under current legislation making them illegal but is a misdemeanor charge.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, that the DeKalb County legislative delegation be asked to write and pass comprehensive legislation to make the manufacturing, distribution, and selling of synthetic drugs a felony in the State of Tennessee."

County Commission Pays Tribute to Eagle Scout Thomas Claston Beltz

January 23, 2012
Dwayne Page
Thomas Claston Beltz and County Mayor Mike Foster

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution honoring Eagle Scout Thomas Claston Beltz.

In reading his accomplishments, County Mayor Mike Foster said that Beltz is the son of Charles and Connie Beltz. "He earned his Eagle rank through the Boys Scouts on January 2, 2012. His project was landscaping the area in front of the outside eating spot beside the principal's office at DCHS. He is an active member of FFA and will be graduating from DCHS in May. Beltz plays on the varsity soccer team. He has also joined the Marine Corps and he will be leaving for the marines in mid August," said Foster.

The resolution states "Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to express their pride, respect, and appreciation to members of our community who so capably fulfill requirements and duties to reach lofty goals and levels of achievement."

"Whereas, Thomas Beltz has broad and diverse achievements. He has distinguished himself as a student, an athlete, and a community leader. We wish to bestow our honor tonight for all those goals, but especially for the years with the Boy Scouts."

"Whereas, only a select few Boy Scouts earn the Eagle Award. This award is a pinnacle sought by many and earned by few."

"Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to thank Thomas Beltz, his family, and other scouts who helped him and his leaders for the honors they have brought to themselves and DeKalb County."

"Now, therefore, be it resolved, by the DeKalb County Commission that January 23, 2012 be officially named Eagle Scout Thomas Claston Beltz Day"

Aspen Institute Visits DeKalb County Schools

January 23, 2012
Lisa Cripps
Aspen Institute Visits DeKalb County Schools

Members of the Aspen Education and Society program visited the state last week and paid a call on DeKalb County Schools Thursday, the only rural school district on the Aspen 2012 Tennessee tour. Aspen works with local, state and national education leaders to share and build knowledge about how school systems can improve.

The groups meet with various groups/stakeholders to listen and learn together and to put aside the political and ideological posturing that too often characterize education debates. They highlight the best work from the field, synthesize the best research and provide a forum for its distribution to those who can use it.

The Aspen Institute is in constant conversation with policymakers and practitioners, which helps foster a more productive dialogue for change. The Aspen group consists of many Education Legislative Assistants from the following Representatives: Jim Cooper, Phil Roe, Lamar Alexander, Marsha Blackburn, and Diane Black, along with several committee members representing the Majority Education Policy Advisor from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions staff.

The meeting Thursday morning started with the group of nineteen from Washington interviewing Mark Willoughby, Director of Schools and Central Office staff Michelle Burklow, Lisa Cripps, Gina Arnold, Dr. Danielle Collins, Lisa Bell, and Clay Farler. The day continued with a tour through DeKalb County High School led by Principal Kathy Hendrix. Interviews followed with four focus groups: Teachers, Principals, Students, and Community/Parents.

Director Willoughby, during his meeting with the Aspen group, addressed the issue of rural districts funding and concerns that they receive equal treatment by the state regarding Race to the Top monies

Willoughby said "our rural school system has 2,844 students. Are rural school districts receiving equal treatment by the state? No," he said. " Our rural school system received $243.00 per student from Race to the Top (RTTT) funds. Our urban counter part received $414.58 per student from RTTT funds. We should have received $171.58 more per student. If we were receiving equal treatment we should have received $487,973.52 additional money.
Is that equal? No," said Willloughby

"The state average of funding per student is $9,084.00. Metro Nashville's average is $11,080.00 per student. In DeKalb County, its $7666.00 per student," said Willoughby

"Our students are funded $1,418.00 less per student than the state average." he said.
"Should our rural school district be funded the same as the state average we would receive $4,032,792.00 more dollars to benefit our students," said Willloughby

"Should our rural school district be funded the same as Metro Nashville we would receive $9,709,416.00 more dollars," he added.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues.

The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways:

Seminars, which help participants reflect on what they think makes a good society, thereby deepening knowledge, broadening perspectives and enhancing their capacity to solve the problems leaders face.

Young-leader fellowships around the globe, which bring a selected class of proven leaders together for an intense multi-year program and commitment. The fellows become better leaders and apply their skills to significant challenges.

Policy programs, which serve as nonpartisan forums for analysis, consensus building, and problem solving on a wide variety of issues.

Public conferences and events, which provide a commons for people to share ideas.

The Institute is based in Washington, DC, Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland's Eastern Shore and has an international network of partners.

May Charged with Theft of Road Signs

January 23, 2012
Dwayne Page
Robert Karl May
James Edward Gilles
Charles Christopher Bates
Brady Gordon Cunningham
Theodore William Faulkner

An 18 year old Smithville man has been charged with theft of several road signs belonging to the county and the cities of Smithville, Alexandria, and Dowelltown.

Robert Karl May of Allen Ferry Road is charged with theft of property under $500 ( four counts). His bond totals $4,000 and he will be in court February 9.

Following an investigation of stolen road signs from the county, City of Alexandria, City of Smithville, and City of Dowelltown, Sheriff Patrick Ray said that detectives of his department found signs in an outbuilding belonging to May on Allen Ferry Road. The discovery was made on Monday, January 9. May was in possession of the following signs: Indian Mound Road, Big Woods Road, Sink Creek Road, Lowery Road, Cordell Love Road, McGinnis Road, Herman Road, Creek Road, Peeled Chestnut Road, and Davis Road belonging to DeKalb County; a Skyline Drive sign taken from the City of Alexandria; Morgan Drive, Holmes Creek Road, Miller Road, and Golf Club Drive signs from the City of Smithville; and a Bank Street sign from the City of Dowelltown. The signs are valued at $75.00 each.

Meanwhile, 24 year old James Edward Gilles of Bell Street Apartments, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $3,500 and he will be in court on February 9

Sheriff Ray states that an officer responded to a fight on Nashville Highway near Dale Ridge Road on Tuesday, January 17. Upon arrival, the deputy was met by Gilles and Nathaniel Tippins. According to Tippins, he stayed at Gilles' house the night before and that Gilles got mad accusing Tippins of taking his girlfriend's medications. Tippins also reported that Gilles had told him to remove his clothes so he could search him. When Tippins refused, Gilles became more upset and tried to strangle him, which was apparent by the marks on Tippins' neck. Tippins reported that he got away from Gilles and into a vehicle. The two met up again at the location on Nashville Highway where the fight occurred.

41 year old Charles Christopher Bates of Washington Street, Sparta is charged with a third offense of driving under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage. His bond is $7,000 and he will be in court on February 9.

According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy went to the Cookeville Highway area on Saturday January 21 in response to a complaint of a reckless driver who had struck a guardrail near a bridge. The officer spotted a vehicle matching the description and caught up with it at Mapco Express. The deputy saw the driver get out of the automobile at the store and noticed that he was very unsteady on his feet. The officer approached and began speaking with the man, Bates, who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Bates admitted that he had been drinking and that he had hit the guardrail while driving, which apparently caused the bumper to come off the vehicle. Bates placed the bumper in the automobile with him and then left the scene. Bates submitted to but performed poorly on several field sobriety tasks. He also submitted to a blood alcohol test. His prior DUI convictions were in Putnam and White counties.

34 year old Brady Gordon Cunningham is charged with introduction of a controlled substance into a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on February 2.

Sheriff Ray said that Cunningham was arrested by the Smithville Police Department on Saturday, January 21 and brought to the sheriff's department. While correctional officers were searching Cunningham, they found on him a prescription bottle that contained three yellow pills believed to be Hydrocodone with Ibuprofen. These pills were in a bottle that did not belong to Cunningham.

43 year old Theodore William Faulkner of Indiana is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on February 2.

According to Sheriff Ray, deputies responded to a physical domestic at Floating Mill Campground on Saturday, January 21. The officers spoke with a female who said that her husband, Faulkner, became violent and assaulted her by throwing dishes and a fruit cup at her. He also allegedly chest bumped her. The officers spoke with Faulkner, who had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person. Faulkner admitted to having been drinking and that he and his wife had been arguing. It was determined that Faulkner was the primary aggressor.

Taylor Named Tiger Football MVP, Hughes Wins MVC Award

January 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Zach Taylor and Heather Hughes
Tiger Football Award Winners
Tiger Football Cheerleader Award Winners
Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award: Sebastian Phillips with Edwards Family

Offensive, defensive, and kicking standout Zach Taylor, a senior, was named Most Valuable Player of the 2011 DeKalb County High School Football Team during the annual Awards Banquet held Saturday night at the Smithville First Baptist Church Life Enrichment Center building. The awards were sponsored by Liberty State Bank

The award was presented to Taylor by Coach Steve Trapp. Taylor helped lead the Tigers to an overall 8-3 record in 2011 including a home state play-off game. "He had statistics in almost every category that you can imagine," said Coach Trapp. "Kicking was definitely a weapon for us this year. He punted the ball. We didn't give up one punt return yard all year. Nobody caught a punt and returned it for one yard. A lot of that was him angling away and him executing the game plan we had. He did a great job in that category. And being able to kick field goals the way he did. In high school, it's definitely a weapon. He had four field goals of over forty yards with a long of forty seven yards and that is a huge weapon to have in high school. He had eight or ten touchbacks as well. But what he did on the offensive side of the ball and then what he did on the defensive side of the ball was a lot to talk about as well. He is definitely a player that deserves and has earned the MVP award," said Coach Trapp

Meanwhile, Heather Hughes, a senior, was named Most Valuable Cheerleader. The presentation was made by Cheer Coaches Amanda Fuller and Sonya House. "I am very proud of her as I am the whole squad. She is a wonderful cheerleader. You couldn't ask for a better girl. She is a 4.0 student and a wonderful person, very kind to others and extremely talented. For all those reasons she received the Most Valuable Cheerleader award," said Coach Fuller

Other individual Football Player Awards are as follows:

Offensive Player-Lucas Phillips
Offensive Lineman-Matt Boss
Offensive Back- Dylan Freeney
Receiver-Will Molander
Defensive Player-Sebastian Phillips
Defensive Lineman-Jake Odom
Linebacker-Cody Puckett
Defensive Back-Alex Hayes
Special Teams Player-Conner Apple
Most Improved-Spencer Stanfield
MVP-Zach Taylor
Coach Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award-Sebastian Phillips

Individual Cheer Awards are as follows:

Best Stunts-Heather Hughes
Most Spirited-Elizabeth Mason
Best Jumps- Johnna Roller
Best Dance-Taylor Cantrell
Most Improved-Darrian Turner
MVC-Heather Hughes
DEAR (Dedication, Enthusiasm, Attitude, and Responsibility)-Kidman Puckett

(TOP Photo: 2011 DCHS Football Most Valuable Player Zach Taylor and Most Valuable Cheerleader Heather Hughes)

(Second Photo from Top: DCHS Football Winners: Seated- Dylan Freeney, Alex Hayes, Zach Taylor, Will Molander, Spencer Stanfield; Back Row- Lucas Phillips, Cody Puckett, Matt Boss, Jake Odom, Conner Apple, Sebastian Phillips)

(Third Photo from Top: DCHS Football Cheerleader Winners: Darrian Turner -Most Improved, Taylor Cantrell-Dance, Heather Hughes- MVC-Stunts, Johnna Roller- Jumps, Kidman Puckett-DEAR Award, Elizabeth Mason-Most Spirited)

(Bottom Photo: Clay Edwards Memorial Tiger Pride Award Winner Sebastian Phillips (second from left) pictured with wife and children of Clay, Abram, Tena and Sarah Edwards (Photo provided)

DeKalb Democrats Gear Up For Primary

January 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Democratic Candidates for Assessor of Property
Four of the Six Candidates for Constable
Newly Elected DeKalb Democratic Party Officers

The race is on!

Democratic candidates for the offices of DeKalb County Assessor of Property and Constable formally announced their candidacies during the local party's mass meeting held Saturday morning at the DCHS cafeteria.

Incumbent Assessor Timothy (Fud) Banks said he is asking the party faithful for renomination and re-election to a fifth term. "My whole life, I've lived here for fifty five years now and for thirty three of those years I have put in serving the people of DeKalb County, seventeen years in law enforcement and sixteen years in the office (property assessor). I need a job. My staff and I have thirty nine years of combined experience doing the job and we try to do the job well and keep the office updated for everybody who needs to use it. I'm asking now for your vote and support. I'd appreciate it,' said Banks.

Scott Cantrell said he too would like to serve the people of DeKalb County as Assessor of Property. "I'm the proud son of Jerry Lee and Jane Cantrell of Cantrell's Furniture. I am a proud democrat. If you know me personally you know that I keep many irons in the fire. I have several jobs that I do besides working with my daddy but if elected all these things will cease and my first priority will be serving the people of DeKalb County. I am seeking the office of property assessor and I'd appreciate your support, vote, and prayers," said Cantrell.

Johnathan Bryan Keith, another candidate for Assessor of Property, also asked for the voter's support. "I've served on the rescue squad for several years. I look forward to serving my community in other ways. I'd appreciate anything anyone does for me. Thank you,' said Keith.

Four candidates for constable also announced their candidacies beginning with Carl Lee Webb in the sixth district. "I live in the Keltonburg community in the sixth district. I served as constable for three terms and then dropped out. Mr. Cantrell Jones has had it for four years and he decided not to run again. If I'm elected I'll do anything I can for anybody. Any vote and support you could give me I'd appreciate it,' said Webb,.

Webb and Richard Bullard are both seeking the office of sixth district constable. Bullard was not present at Saturday's mass meeting.

Incumbent third district constable Wayne Vanderpool is unopposed in his bid for another term. "I've been the constable in the third district for the last sixteen years. I'd appreciate anything anyone can do to help me even though I'm running unopposed. Thank you for your votes,' he said.

Incumbent fifth district constable Mark Milam is also unopposed, seeking a sixth term. " I want to say that I'm thankful for the last five terms that I've served for DeKalb County. Over the last five terms I've tried to be an asset to DeKalb County. I'm seeking re-election again and asking for each and everyone's support. I have a good working relationship with all the agencies and help them in anyway I can," he said.

Incumbent seventh district constable Johnny King added " I am running for constable in the seventh district. This is my second term. I was constable in the fourth district for several years. I appreciate your vote and support. Thank you," he said.

Incumbent fourth district constable Paul Cantrell is also seeking re-election but he was not present at the meeting.

These candidates will be on the ballot in the March 6 DeKalb County Democratic Primary. Early Voting is set for February 15-28.

Newly elected local democratic party officers were also announced including Jim Judkins, who was re-elected as chairman; Larry Bain, Jordan Wilkins, and Kim Luton as co-vice chairs; Katherine Pack as treasurer; and Joyce Hendrixson as secretary. They will serve through 2014.

James Hale said he pondering another run for state representative but hasn't yet made up his mind. "We have to get the final decision on redistricting of whether or not that I am actually in the 40th district. It appears that I am. We'll know that within the next few days. We'll then make a decision," said Hale.

George McDonald, who ran unsuccessfully against State Senator Mae Beavers in 2010, addressed the group calling for party unity. Although he didn't specifically mention it, McDonald may also have his eye on the state representative seat. In James Hale's remarks, he said "I know he (McDonald) is interested in this seat as well but he said to me that if James Hale runs, I won't run," said Hale.

(Top Photo: Scott Cantrell, Johnathan Bryan Keith, Timothy (Fud) Banks)
(Second Photo From Top: Carl Lee Webb, Mark Milam, Wayne Vanderpool, Johnny King)
(Third Photo From Top: Larry Bain, Katherine Pack, Jim Judkins, Joyce Hendrixson, Jordan Wilkins, Kim Luton)

Smithville Police Nab Wisconsin Sex Offender

January 21, 2012
Dwayne Page
Juan Martinez

Smithville police recently nabbed a convicted sex offender from Wisconsin after investigating a traffic accident on Braswell Lane.

Chief Randy Caplinger said 22 year old Juan Martinez, charged with violation of the sex offender registry law and being a fugitive from justice, is under a $125,000 bond and he will be in court on February 9. He is expected to be extradited to Kenosha Wisconsin, where he is a convicted sex offender, and facing a new charge of exploitation of a minor.

According to Chief Caplinger, Martinez was involved in a traffic mishap on Wednesday, January 11 on Braswell Lane near where he had been living with his wife. The investigating officer did a computer check on his drivers license and discovered that Martinez was a convicted sex offender. After making contact the next day with authorities in Wisconsin, police confirmed that Martinez was wanted there. Martinez was later picked up by Smithville Police and charged. Chief Caplinger said police learned that Martinez had been living here for about two weeks but had failed to register as a convicted sex offender within the required forty eight hours after arriving in Tennessee.

In other cases, 39 year old Angela Denise Kelly is cited for shoplifting from Walmart on Sunday, January 15. She will be in court on February 9. Chief Caplinger said that Kelly allegedly tried to leave the store with several items including cd's without having paid for them. Those items were found on her.

34 year old Crystal King is cited for shoplifting from the Dollar General Store on Sunday, January 15. She will be in court on February 9. Chief Caplinger reports that King allegedly was found putting things from the store in her purse. She was stopped outside the store and those items were apparently found on her.

50 year old Lisa Ann George is cited for shoplifting from the Tractor Supply Company on Thursday, January 19. She will be in court on February 2. George was allegedly observed going to the dressing room with several clothing items. Before leaving the store, she was checked and found to be concealing some clothing from the business.

39 year old Patsy Lynn McCoy is charged with two counts of theft of property and one count of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance. She is under a $9,000 bond and she will be in court on February 2. Meanwhile, 30 year old Travis Malone is charged with one count of theft of property. His bond is $2,500. He too will be in court on February 2.

According to Chief Caplinger, McCoy is charged with stealing a diamond ring from a residence on Bell Street and then selling it to a local jewelry store, Granny's Gold Mine. She took Malone with her to the store and asked him to make the transaction because she didn't have her ID. Malone went in and allegedly sold the ring. Meanwhile, McCoy is also charged with the theft of a bottle of Ibuprofen from Kwik and Ezy on the same day as the other theft. After she was arrested and brought to the police department, officers found her with pills believed to be hydrocodone.

37 year old Michael Paul Howard is charged with domestic assault and placed under an order of protection. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on February 16. Chief Caplinger said that police were called to Christine Street on Sunday, January 8 to investigate a domestic assault. The victim told the officer that Howard became angry when he was asked to leave her home. When he refused, she got in her vehicle and tried to leave. Howard allegedly climbed on the hood and tore off a windshield wiper. He then jumped off and struck the driver's side door window, shattering the glass, causing the woman to have shatters of glass on her clothing and a cut from the broken glass near one of her eyes.

Melinda Murphy is charged with joyriding. Her bond is $2,500 and she will be in court on February 16. According to Chief Caplinger, Murphy and a friend went to Warren County to pick up the victim, where he had received a traffic citation. They came back to Smithville to Walmart. While the victim was inside the store, Murphy and her friend left in the victim's vehicle. He notified police of the incident. Murphy was found and charged in the case.

County to Revisit School Zone Traffic Study Request

January 20, 2012
Dwayne Page

The county commission Monday night will discuss whether to follow through on a school board request for the county to seek a CTAS traffic study in the Smithville school zones.

During the December regular meeting, school board members voted to ask the county attorney, Hilton Conger and city attorney, Vester Parsley to make contact with the County Technical Advisory Service CTAS and the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to request a traffic study on behalf of both city and county governments.

The issue has been placed on the county commission agenda for Monday night.

In October, the Board of Education voted to ask the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen to formally request the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) to conduct a cost free study of traffic flow patterns and to make suggestions for relieving congestion on highways at Northside Elementary as well as DCHS and DeKalb Middle School in Smithville.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson denied the request in a letter dated November 16, stating that the school board could seek the traffic study through CTAS.

School Board Chairman Charles Robinson, during the December meeting, said he had contacted CTAS since receiving Mayor Hendrixson's letter. Robinson said it is his understanding that both CTAS and MTAS would be willing to work together to do a traffic study as long as both the city and county request it.

Fourth district member Billy Miller made a motion to "make a request of the attorney for the City of Smithville and the county attorney, asking that they sit down and contact CTAS to come up with such a study for the school system. I make that in the form of a motion to do so," said Miller.

In December, 2010, the school board approved a plan to fund the cost of having persons direct traffic in the school zones during the mornings and afternoons at Northside Elementary, DCHS, and DeKalb Middle School.
Under the plan, the Board of Education, City of Smithville, and DeKalb County government each agreed to fund one third of the cost for the rest of that school year. The city and county had already approved the partnership under a memorandum of understanding.

County Commission to Discuss Filling School Board Vacancy

January 19, 2012
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night may discuss whether someone should be appointed to fill the vacancy on the school board created by the recent resignation of Bruce Parsley from the sixth district.

Parsley, who was elected in August 2008, resigned as of December 31, 2011 to pursue a career as a certified school teacher. His term expires August 31st.

The county commission has the authority to appoint a school board member to fill the unexpired term but no action on an actual appointment is expected Monday night. Two men, Boyd Trapp and Doug Stephens attended Thursday night's all committees meeting of the county commission to express an interest in filling the vacancy.

The last time the commission filled an opening on the school board was in 2006 when John David Foutch was named to serve out the term of Darrell Gill in the first district. Gill resigned before his term expired because he moved his residence out of the first district.

After it became known that Gill had resigned, notice was given that the position was open and interested parties came forward to submit their names for consideration. Initially, five applied for the position but three of them later dropped out. The county commission, during a workshop, interviewed the remaining two.

During the next regular county commission meeting, both names were placed in nomination for the position. On the first roll call, each commissioner cast a vote by calling out the name of the candidate he favored.

Foutch received nine of the fourteen commission votes. After the initial roll call vote, a second vote was taken to confirm Foutch's appointment and all fourteen members gave Foutch their support.

Meanwhile, in other business Monday night the county commission will act on a resolution to honor Eagle Scout Thomas Claston Beltz.

The commission will discuss a letter from Director of Schools Mark Willoughby concerning a traffic study from the County Technical Advisory Service (CTAS) in the Smithville School Zones; discuss "a Safety First" program implication for Highway 70 and Highway 83 Intersection; discuss passage of the "Sale of Synthetic Drugs as a Felony" resolution; discuss the resignation of school board member Bruce Parsley; consider budget amendments; discuss an update on expenses and revenues; discuss an update of the county road list; discuss an update of the county's policy and procedures for employees; discuss items addressed at the Thursday night workshop; discuss courthouse updates; discuss updates on the new county complex; discuss landfill updates; approve notaries; and discuss action taken last May to raise spending limits before competitive bidding and to clarify the limits that apply to the county, the highway department, and the board of education; and to discuss any business properly presented.

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