Local News Articles

DeKalb County Earns Three-Star Certification

September 30, 2008
Dwayne Page
Governor Presents Three Star Award

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Matthew Kisber announced that DeKalb County has achieved certification under the state’s Three-Star program.

“This designation is a sign of DeKalb County’s tremendous hard work, and I am proud to offer my congratulations,” Kisber said. “Strong community development is the basis for sustainable economic growth, and DeKalb County has demonstrated their commitment to improvement by accepting and meeting Three-Star’s challenging requirements. This dedication has yielded progress, and DeKalb County is more prepared than ever for long term success in the economic, and every other, arena.”

DeKalb and the cities of Smithville, Dowelltown, Liberty and Alexandria are now eligible to receive additional incentives under the guidelines of the Tennessee Three-Star program.

The Three-Star program has set high standards and incentives like no other state-run program in the nation. Governor Phil Bredesen’s five-year asset-based economic development strategic plan is the cornerstone of the program. In 2005, the Southern Growth Policies Board, a bipartisan public policy think tank devoted to strengthening the South's economy, recognized the Three-Star program as a best practices program and a Southern leader in community certification programs.

Tennessee’s Three-Star program helps urban and rural communities develop strategic economic and community development plans that meet the needs and challenges of an ever-changing economic environment. It helps communities preserve existing employment, create new employment opportunities, improve family income and develop a strong leadership base for economic development.

The Tennessee Three-Star Program, which is currently active in 89 counties and one city, represents more than 348 Tennessee cities, making this year’s participation the largest ever.

“It’s an honor for me to celebrate with DeKalb County in their achievement of Three-Star certification,” said ECD Assistant Commissioner of Community Development Rick Meredith. “DeKalb County is truly taking a strategic approach to economic development in their community, and its success in the Three-Star program is evidence that it is poised for marked growth. ECD is proud to provide support to this forward-thinking community.”

In order to receive the certification, communities are required to meet criteria in organizational, community, business, education and work force development categories. Incentives for receiving the certification include identification on all FastTrack infrastructure and job training applications; eligibility for matching grants, if criteria set by ECD are met; and the advantage of earning points in the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

Arrests Made in Burglary and Drug Investigations

September 30, 2008
Dwayne Page
Michael Chad Owens
Kenneth Travis Bond

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has picked up another man on a sealed indictment returned by a special session of the Grand Jury last week in a burglary investigation.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 27 year old Michael Chad Owens of Shady Drive Smithville was arrested for one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $500. In June of this year, Owens forcibly entered a residence on Four Star Loop through a window and stole a Marlin 30-30 rifle and case along with various swords, daggers, and knives. The rifle has since been recovered. Owens bond was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

Meanwhile, 36 year old Kenneth Travis Bond of Womack Road, McMinnville was arrested Friday for promotion of methamphetamine, possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine), and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ray says on September 9th, Detectives were contacted by a local pharmacy that a man by the name of Kenneth Travis Bond was there to purchase pseudoephedrine. Officers obtained information, through the cooperation of local pharmacies, that Bond had been to at least four drug stores in DeKalb County to purchase pseudoephedrine. After purchasing pseudoephedrine from one of the pharmacies, Detectives observed Bond leaving the business in a 1997 Chevy 4x4 Z-71 pickup truck. The vehicle was stopped on Church Street in Smithville where detectives spoke to Bond and inquired about his purchasing quantities of pseudoephedrine here in DeKalb County. After receiving consent to search Bond's vehicle, officers found four sealed boxes of cold medicine containing pseudoephedrine. After continuing to search the vehicle, Detectives found a cloth zipper pouch containing several syringes, razor blades, plastic baggies, glass pipes, a tourniquet, a medicine bottle containing water, and a plastic baggie containing a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine. Also found in the console drawer of the vehicle was a bottle of water and two other syringes. After the completion of the investigation, Bond's 1997 Chevy was seized. Bond for Bond was set at $10,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 6.6% in August

September 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for August was 6.6%, up from the rate of 6.2% in July and 4.3% in August 2007.

The DeKalb County Labor Force for August was 10,210. A total of 9,530 were employed and 680 were unamployed.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August is at 6.6 percent, 0.2 percentage point lower than the July revised rate of 6.8 percent. The United States unemployment rate for the month of August was 6.1 percent.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for August 2008, show that 78 counties decreased. The rate increased in 8 counties and remained the same in 9 counties.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 4.7 percent, up 0.1 from the July rate of 4.6 percent. Perry County had the state's highest at 16.2 percent, down 3.3 from the July rate of 19.5, followed by Lauderdale County at 12.5 percent, down from 14.7 in July.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan county rate at 5.0 percent, down 0.5 percentage point from the July rate of 5.5 percent. Davidson County's rate increased to 5.6 percent, up 0.1 from the July rate of 5.5 percent. Hamilton County was at 6.1 percent, the same as July, and Shelby County was 7.2 percent, down 0.1 from the July rate of 7.3 percent.

Two Persons Wanted by Indiana Authorities Found Living in Smithville

September 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

Two people wanted by authorities in Indiana have been located living in Smithville.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives from La Porte City Police Indiana contacted the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department Thursday about two fugitives living on Forrest Avenue in Smithville.

Sheriff Ray says deputies went to the address and arrested 34 year old Ryan K. Martin and 34 year old Marilyn Ann Fuller both of Forrest Avenue, Smithville. Martin had warrants on him for a failure to appear in court on a check deception, receiving stolen property, driving while suspended, battery, and a driving under the influence. These are Class "D" felonies. Fuller had a failure to appear in court on theft and receiving stolen property charges. Both are being held in the DeKalb County Jail without bond and will appear in court on October 2nd.

In another case, deputies arrested 25 year old Joseph Lee Merriman of Dale Ridge Road Dowelltown Friday for driving under the influence, simple possession of a schedule III drug (Hydrocodone), and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says while on patrol, a deputy spotted a vehicle setting on the side of the roadway on Dale Ridge Road in Dowelltown. Upon checking the driver of the vehicle, the officer noticed the operator of the vehicle was passed out, had his foot on the brake, and had a green powdery substance around his nose. After awakening Merriman, Deputies asked him to exit his vehicle and noticed that he was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech. Merriman submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. As officers were conducting a pat down search of Merriman, they found a metal container in his pocket. Inside the container were two pills believed to be Hydocodone and an ink pen that was cut off and possibly used for snorting the pills. Merriman was arrested. He was also issued a citation for violation of the implied consent law because he refused a blood test. Total bond for Merriman was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on October 9th.

Meanwhile, on Sunday after being brought into the DeKalb County Jail by Smithville Police officers on drug charges, 43 year old Ricky Estes and 28 year old Cindy Lemons Estes, both of Whorton Springs Road, Smithville were found to have drugs on them. Correctional Officers, during the booking process, found a white pill in Ricky Estes' pocket believed to be Xanax. Cindy Estes was found to have a pill bottle in her body cavity containing three white pills believed to be Xanax and five orange pills believed to be Suboxone. Both subjects were charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution where prisoners are housed. Bond for Ricky Estes was set at $5,000 and bond for Cindy Estes was set at $10,000. Both will appear in court on October 16th.

Dowelltown Water Tested Safe to Drink

September 29, 2008
Dwayne Page

Customers of the Dowelltown-Liberty Water System no longer have to boil their drinking water before consumption.

Testing has been completed on water samples and the results reveal that the water is safe to drink.

A break in a water line caused an interruption in service Sunday night and early Monday morning.

Officials were concerned that the water might have become contaminated because of the line break.

Smithville Fire Fighters Conduct Ribbon Cutting and Dedication of New Fire Hall

September 27, 2008
Dwayne Page
Smithville Fire Fighters Conduct Ribbon Cutting at New Fire Hall
Smithville Fire Fighters at Saturday Dedication
Firefighters Stand at Attention During Dedication Ceremony

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department hosted a dedication, open house, and ribbon cutting Saturday to commemorate the opening of the new fire hall downtown.

During his remarks during the dedication, Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker expressed his appreciation to his fellow firefighters for their committment, to past and present city administrations and aldermen, and to the citizens of Smithville for their support. "For the last several years, the Smithville Fire Department has tried to be an agreessive department, trying to build, grow, and expand our capabilities for the citizens of Smithville. This building is one of our accomplishments. We've managed to purchase several pieces of equipment over the last several years. This building is just another building block as we go forward."

Smithville Mayor Taft Hendrixson, who also spoke during the dedication, said he is proud of this new state of the art firehall and the firefighters who staff it. Mayor Hendrixson added that he is also pleased that the city did not have to borrow money to build it due to sound financial management for several years.

In an interview with WJLE on Friday, Parker says the new firehall provides space for fire trucks, offices, training rooms, and living quarters. "When we started this project, we were trying to expand the department so that we could have a building big enough to hopefully someday buy a truck with a ladder on it in order to reach some of the taller buildings in the city. So we made the building big enough on the bottom floor to house larger equipment as the city grows. We added three bays. We presently have four trucks so we're still utilizing the old part of the fire department downstairs. We changed the garage doors of the old fire hall to make it all match the new building. The bottom floor of the new building contains three new bays so we can get all of our trucks parked inside now. None of them have to set outside. It also gives us a little room for expansion in the future. We've made a room to hopefully have a washing machine in the near future for our turnout gear. We also have rooms for our offices and training upstairs. We had extra space so we made provisions to hopefully have some full time firefighters soon. There's a kitchen and a training room upstairs, along with bathrooms and showers. We've incorporated bunk rooms. We're trying to look to the future and possibly add some full time firefighters. We've got the building and the capability to do that now. We're real proud of the new fire hall."

For more information about the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department visit www.smithvillefire.com

Tigers Rout Lions in Woodbury 63-20

September 27, 2008
Tiger Quarterback Hunter Poteete Looking for Open Receiver

The DeKalb County High School Tiger football team put their first loss of the season behind them Friday night, as they crushed the Cannon County Lions, 63-20, in Woodbury. The 63 points tied a team record for the most points scored in a game. The 1973 Tigers scored the same amount of points in a 63-0 defeat of Red Boiling Springs.

DeKalb stormed out to a 20-0 lead in the first quarter, as Hunter Poteete threw touchdown passes to J.J. Herriott (14 yards) and Hunter Stewart (12 yards), while Abram Edwards returned a fumble 63 yards for the third Tiger score. Zach Taylor hit two of his first three extra point attempts, as DC took the three-score advantage at the end of the quarter.

The Lions stormed back on a pair of second quarter touchdowns. Quarterback Josh Seng hooked up with Andrew Woodin on a 27-yard touchdown pass for the first Cannon County score, and Melvin Young reeled off a 28-yard run for the team's second score. Kevin Walkup connected on the first extra point attempt, but had the second one blocked, which made the score 20-13 in favor of the Tigers with 2:28 to go until halftime.

The Tigers used only 1:08 on the clock to collect their next score, as Poteete swiftly moved the team 70 yards in five plays, capped off by his five-yard touchdown pass to Matthew Lawrence. Poteete then found Abram Edwards on a deflected pass for the two-point conversion, which pushed the Tiger lead to 28-13.

With just 1:09 left in the half, Cannon County was able to pick up a first down on the ensuing drive, but did little else and was forced to punt. DeKalb took the ball at the 34-yard-line, and Poteete called his own number on a quarterback draw, which led to a 66-yard burst to the end zone with just 5.5 seconds left until the intermission. Taylor booted the PAT, which gave DC a 35-13 edge at the half.

The Tigers continued to pour it on in the second half, as Lawrence capped off the opening drive with a three-yard touchdown run. Travon Johnson ended the ensuing Lion drive with an interception return for a touchdown, which covered 66 yards. Taylor's PAT kicks gave DC a 49-13 lead with 6:28 to go in the third quarter.

Young broke loose for his second rushing touchdown on the ensuing Cannon County drive, as the senior darted 38 yards to paydirt, which made the score 49-20 after Walkup's extra point. DeKalb marched right back down the field, however, and scored again, this time on a 17-yard pass from Poteete to Herriott, which widened the margin to 56-20, with 1:05 remaining in the third.

With the mercy rule invoked, the clock ran continuously in the fourth quarter. DeKalb County added one more score on a four-yard run by Kevin Kijanski, which put up the final margin of 63-20 after Taylor's point after kick.

The DeKalb County Tigers improve to 4-1 on the season, and will travel to Pearl-Cohn for a Region showdown, next Friday night. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m.

SES Students Help Raise Money for their School in Wildcat Fun Run

September 27, 2008
Dwayne Page
Students Walking in Wildcat Fun Run
SES Students Walking to Raise Money for their School

Students from pre-k to the second grade helped raise money for their school during the 17th annual Wildcat Fun Run held Friday at Smithville Elementary School.

Dr. Bill Tanner, SES Principal, says much of the money raised this year will help support the addition of an outdoor classroom at the school for all students and teachers." Last year we raised $33,000 with the Fun Run and we hope to do as well this year. A lot of the money will go toward this project (outside classroom), plus we're trying to get another grant to help along with this fundraiser. The more money we can get towards our outdoor classroom, the bigger and better one we can build."

Dr. Tanner says the Fun Run is a project of the school's PTO. "The PTO does this. It's their fundraiser to help us with some projects that we have during the year. This year, the idea was that we wanted to build an outdoor classroom. A lot of times when students are doing activities inside a classroom, like painting, using sand or other types of materials, it creates a mess for the janitors to have to clean up. Or they may be doing an activity where they're real loud, but if they are outside, they are not bothering anybody else. We can also do nature studies outside and experiments. It's not conducive sometimes to do experiments inside."

In addition to the funds raised through the Fun Run, Dr. Tanner says the school expects to receive some donated materials and volunteer labor to help build the outdoor classroom, which could be completed by spring.

Dr. Tanner says he wants to thank all those who supported Friday's Fun Run. "We've had wall to wall parents and other people out here helping with the event and it's just been a beautiful day and a great Fun Run here at Smithville Elementary School."

This event is held each year in an effort to raise money for the school. Students are asked to accept pledges or donations prior to the day of the run. During the Fun Run, students walk or jog on a 1/8 mile track for one hour with each lap being recorded for each student. After the event, the students then collect money from their pledges.

Special Grand Jury Session Called to Indict Defendants in Theft Investigation by Sheriff's Department

September 25, 2008
Dwayne Page
James M. Adcock

An investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department into a recent rash of burglaries and thefts has led to a special session of the grand jury and sealed indictments against several persons named in the probe.

The DeKalb County Grand Jury was called into special session Wednesday.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says "These individuals are thought to be "larger scale" thieves considering their past criminal histories and are a threat to our community. This is an ongoing investigation by my detectives and me dealing with theft rings here in DeKalb County. More arrests are forthcoming."

Sheriff Ray asks for you to take an inventory of your firearms, electronic components, and valuables by listing all serial numbers and descriptions of your items in case of a theft. This is vital information that tremendously increases the solvability of any theft and also aids in the recovery of the stolen items.

Among those named in sealed indictments by the Grand Jury Wednesday are:

79 year old James M. Adcock of Jefferson Road, Smithville who was arrested on a sealed indictment for theft of property over $1,000. Sheriff Ray says Adcock had in his possession several guns that had been reported stolen here in DeKalb County. During a lengthy investigation, detectives found that people, who were known felons and who had long criminal histories for similar crimes, were stealing guns from several homes in DeKalb County and were taking the stolen firearms to Adcock's home to be sold. Adcock would purchase the weapons with cash. After obtaining this information, detectives went to the home of Adcock and confronted him with information they had obtained. They were able to recover two stolen firearms. While at the residence, Adcock was advised that officers had proof of other firearms which had been sold to him but Adcock denied it. Detectives left Adcock's residence but were able to reconfirm their information that more stolen firearms had been sold to him. Officers then went back to Adcock's home later in the evening and conducted a search of his residence. During the search, detectives found two more stolen guns that Adcock had purchased, including a .357 pistol that had been reported stolen here in DeKalb County in 2003. Also found at the residence was the stolen firearm that the detectives had questioned him about earlier in the day which he had denied having in his possession. Adcock's bond was set at $10,000 on the charge and he will appear in court on October 24th.

42 year old Shannon Lynn Newby of Anthony Avenue, Smithville was arrested on three counts of aggravated burglary, two counts of theft of property over $1,000, and one count of theft of property under $500. Sheriff Ray says in May of this year, Newby made forced entry into a residence on Cookeville Highway and took two firearms, a floor safe, guitar, a DeWalt impact wrench, and multiple DVD's all valued at over $1,000. Many of these items including one of the firearms have been recovered.

Sheriff Ray says in June of this year, Newby went to a residence on Twilla Lane Smithville and made forced entry into the home. He took two rifles valued at over $1,000. One weapon has since been recovered. Also in June, Newby forcibly entered a home on West Main Street in Smithville and took a chainsaw valued at $350 from the home. The chainsaw has since been recovered. Newby's bond was set at $150,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

38 year old Comer Thomas Vance of Bell Street Smithville was arrested for two counts of theft over $500, one count of theft under $500, and one count of aggravated burglary. Sheriff Ray says in June of this year, Vance went to a residence on Lee Homer Road Smithville and stole a catalytic converter off of a 1995 Chevy Lumina valued at $600 without the owners consent. Also in June of this year, Vance forcibly entered a home on West Main Street in Smithville and took a chainsaw valued at $350 from the home. The chainsaw has since been recovered. On another date in June, Vance went to a residence on Haley Road in Smithville and stole a catalytic converter off of a 1991 Ford Van valued at $800. Vance's total bond was set at $100,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th

32 year old Tyrone Dewayne Owens of Shady Drive Smithville was arrested for one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $1,000. Sheriff Ray says in May of this year, Owens forcibly entered a residence on Cookeville Highway and stole a .25 caliber semi automatic hand gun, a .22 caliber rifle, a floor safe, acoustic guitar and case, several DVD's, and an impact wrench valued at over $1,000. Owens' total bond was set at $50,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

32 year old Sharon K. Skinner of Cedar Drive Smithville was arrested for one count of aggravated burglary and one count of theft over $500. Sheriff Ray says in August of this year, Skinner made forced entry through a window of a residence on A.B. Frasier Road Smithville and stole several articles of jewelry, one play station two console, loose change, and several DVD's valued at over $500. Skinner's bond was set at $25,000 and she will appear in court on October 24th.

23 year old Donald Ricky Atnip Jr. of Banks Pisgah Road Smithville was arrested for theft of property over $1,000 and filing a false report. Sheriff Ray says earlier this month, Atnip went to a residence on Short Mountain Highway and stole a 16 foot trailer and a Maytag Washer and Dryer. Atnip then drove from the residence on Short Mountain to McMinnville Highway where the trailer came off of Atnip's vehicle. The operator of another vehicle, which was traveling on McMinnville Highway, did not see the trailer in the roadway and struck the trailer causing damage to their vehicle. When Deputies arrived at the scene, Atnip was loading the stolen trailer back on to his truck and told the deputies that the trailer belonged to him. The deputies filed an accident report with Atnip and the other motorist. A further investigation into the accident revealed that the trailer had been stolen. Atnip's bond was set at $25,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

38 year old Walter Ray Redmon of Sparta Highway Smithville was arrested for four counts of theft over $500 and one count of aggravated burglary. Sheriff Ray says in June of this year, Redmon forcibly entered a residence on Four Star Loop through a window and stole a Marlin 30-30 rifle and case along with various swords, daggers, and knives. The rifle has since been recovered. Also in June of this year, Redmon went to a residence on Evins Mill Road in Smithville and stole a catalytic converter off of a 1996 Chevy Lumina Van valued at $600.

On another date in June of this year, Redmon went to a residence on Haley Road in Smithville and stole a catalytic converter off of a 1991 Ford Van valued at $800. Also in June, Redmon went to a residence on Lee Homer Road in Smithville and stole a catalytic converter off of a 1995 Chevy Lumina valued at $600. Redmon's bond was set at $125,000 and he will appear in court on October 24th.

In other news, 30 year old Jerry H. Goff of South Titsworth Road Smithville was arrested Sunday for simple possession of drugs after he was stopped on South Titsworth Road for a traffic violation. Deputies received consent from Goff to search his vehicle and found 6 orange pills in the console of his car believed to be Suboxone. Goff did admit to the deputy that the pills were his and he had no prescription for them. Goff's bond was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on October 9th.

39 year old William Andy Cantrell of Redmon Road Smithville and 42 year old Tammy Denise Miller of Short Mountain Road Smithville were arrested Tuesday after a deputy spotted their car sitting beside of the roadway on McMinnville Highway. Officers obtained consent to search the vehicle and found 31 hypodermic needles in Miller's vehicle. Cantrell was found to have another hypodermic needle in his pants pocket. Bond for both Cantrell and Miller was set a $2,500 each and they will appear in court on December 11th.

40 year old Donna Sue Estes was arrested Wednesday for possession of drug paraphernalia after officers from the Sheriff's Department went to a home on Short Mountain Highway. The officers received consent to search from the owner of the residence and found 5 hypodermic needles, two cut straws, and a tourniquet in a bedroom where Estes was sitting. Estes' bond was set at $2,500 and she will appear in court on October 2nd.

23 year old Daniel Sklenka of South College Street Smithville and 22 year old Barry Elrod of Golden Lane McMinnville were arrested Thursday for theft under $500 for stealing county road signs. A deputy, while on patrol, noticed a vehicle sitting on Dry Creek Road in Dowelltown. As the officer approached the vehicle, the driver turned his headlights off and then when the deputy got to the vehicle, the driver turned the headlights back on and drove off. The officer pulled the vehicle over for a traffic violation and noticed the county road signs in the back of the vehicle. The names of the road signs were- Highway 70 and Evins Mill Road cross signs, Toad Road, Adcock Cemetery Road, and a deer crossing sign. The two men were taken into custody. Bond for both men was set at $1,000 and they will appear in court on October 30th.

Smithville Man Defends Himself In Home Invasion

September 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

A Smith Road resident defended himself from a burglar early Monday morning.

Smithville Police Officer Scott Davis, in his report, states that "On Monday, September 22nd at 3:15 a.m., I was dispatched to 274 Smith Road in reference to an attempted break-in. Upon my arrival, I made contact with the complainant, David Reses, who stated that he was home when a male Hispanic with a mask over his face and armed with a black gun, kicked in the front door. When the suspect got near the complainant's bedroom door, the complainant (Reses) struck the suspect in the head with a steel pipe. The suspect fled in an unknown direction of travel."

There was damage to the front door and a lock but apparently nothing was stolen from the residence.


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