Local News Articles

Suspicious Trailer Fire Under Investigation

September 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is investigating a suspicious fire at a vacant mobile home Sunday night in a trailer park at 245 Toad Road.

Bruce Tramel is reportedly the owner of the trailer.

DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green says neighbors reported seeing a man go into the trailer and come out shortly before the fire started.

Fire fighters were summoned to the scene at 10:58 p.m. and upon arrival found fire and heavy smoke coming from the trailer. Green says they were able to contain the blaze to a hallway inside the back door of the trailer. The mobile home was saved from total destruction.

Green says two neighbors, Jason Campbell and Barry Ohl, used buckets of water to try to get the fire under control while firefighters were enroute. Campbell was overcome by smoke and had to be taken to the hospital for treatment of smoke inhalation. No one else was injured.

Green says because of the suspicious nature of the fire and evidence found at the scene, the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has started an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and Liberty Fire Stations responded to the scene along with officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS.

Cantrell Seeks Assault Charges Against Shooting Victim And Another Man

September 18, 2006
Dwayne Page

25 year old Garth Cantrell, charged with shooting 21 year old Joseph Givens in the face with a 22 caliber rifle Thursday night, is now seeking assault charges against Givens and another man, claiming they beat him up prior to the shooting.

Charges are currently pending against the two men.

Smithville Police were summoned to 303 White Street at 11:35 p.m. Thursday and found that Givens had been shot in the face by a 22 caliber rifle. Cantrell was identified as the man who did the shooting, but he had apparently left the scene in a pick-up truck with another person.

During radio communications with Smithville Police Officer Steve Deffendoll, Sheriff Patrick Ray says he spotted a gray Toyota pick-up truck traveling on Mountain Street with it's headlights off and he stopped the vehicle near the intersection of East Main Street and Bright Hill Road. Inside the truck was a 22 caliber rifle.

Sheriff Ray says Cantrell, a passenger of the truck, had a bloody nose and mouth and he was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital for treatment. Cantrell was then transported to the DeKalb County Jail where he was booked for attempted first degree murder by Smithville Police.

Investigators have not confirmed it, but sources say Cantrell had been out with a friend that night and that after they stopped at the White Street location, Givens and the other man approached the vehicle, where Cantrell was sleeping, and started beating him. Cantrell awoke to the attack and after the incident, he left, got a 22 caliber rifle, returned to the scene, confronted Givens, and then shot him.

The arrest warrant against Cantrell states that \"Garth Wayne Cantrell did shoot Joseph Givens in the face area with a .22 caliber rifle at 303 White Street. Mr. Cantrell got into a fight with Givens and another subject and left and returned with the rifle and shot Mr. Givens, causing serious bodily injury. Mr Cantrell admits to doing this shooting.\"

Givens was taken to Vanderbilt Hospital and has since been released. He reportedly suffered a serious eye injury.

Cantrell remains in jail under a $125,000 bond. Since his arrest, Cantrell has also been charged with violation of probation. He appeared in General Sessions Court on August 31st and was granted probation after being sentenced on charges of possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia. He received two sentences of 11 months and 29 days to run concurrently.

He is scheduled to appear in court on the attempted murder charge October 5th.

Vester Parsley, Jr., attorney for Cantrell, declined to make any statement in Cantrell's defense at this time.

Sheriff's Department Charges Two Men WithTheft Of Four Wheeler

September 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged two Green Hill men with the theft of a 2001 Honda 400 EX 4 Wheeler taken August 21st from a residence on Jacobs Pillar Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 42 year old Dewey Randolph and 20 year old Curtis A. Lloyd both of 625 Ruth Hildreth Road, Smithville are each charged with one count of theft of property over $1,000.

The residence has a Smithville address but is actually just across the county line in Warren County.

Sheriff Ray says the Warren County Sheriff's Office recently contacted the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department after recovering the 4 wheeler at the residence of the two men. A further investigation led to the charges against them by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Bond for both is set at $1,000 each.

Three Juveniles Charged With Starting Fire At Indian Mound Home For Boys

September 13, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has charged three teenage boys with starting a fire at the Indian Mound home for boys Tuesday night.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says the three boys, a 14 year old and two 16 year olds, are each charged with aggravated arson. All three are residents of the home.

They have been taken to a Juvenile Detention Center in Cookeville.

Sheriff Ray says the fire was reported around 8:58 p.m. Tuesday after a staff leader smelled smoke and went to investigate. The staff kept the fire contained until fire fighters arrived.

He says the fire started in the ceiling of the basement and burned some insulation around the air ducts. The boys apparently crammed toilet tissue and paper towels around the air ducts and set it on fire with a lighter.

Another fire was started under the stair case leading to the basement from a cardboard box that was set on fire.

None of the fifteen boys who reside at the home or any of the staff members were injured. The building was evacuated as a precaution.

Fire damage was reportedly kept to a minimum.

Members of the Johnson's Chapel, Short Mountain Highway, and Midway Fire Stations responded.

A Total of 917 Vote Early In DTC Directors Election

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

A total of 917 people voted early in the DTC Communications' election of directors this week.

The early voting breakdown at each voting location is as follows: Alexandria 131, Gordonsville 36, Smithville 642, and Woodbury 108.

Directors will be elected in three exchanges, including the Alexandria (529), Liberty (536), and Smithville (215/597) exchanges.

Incumbents Bennie Curtis and Randy Campbell are running unopposed in the Alexandria and Liberty exchanges, respectively.

The Smithville exchange is represented by four candidates: Incumbent Paul Cantrell and three who qualified by petition - Freddy N. Colvert, Ronald Garrison, and Vester Parsley, Jr.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative's annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 16

Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

On Saturday, Sept. 16, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 4 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.

For additional guidelines regarding membership and voting, refer to the by-laws section of any DTC phone directory, or call DTC at 615-529-2955.

Family Left Homeless By Fire

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

A woman and her three children were left homeless this morning (Thursday) after a fire destroyed their mobile home at 5159 Cookeville Highway.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says fire fighters were called to the home of Jennifer Taylor at 3:57 a.m.

Green says one of the children awoke to the smell of smoke and then woke up his mother. She then discovered the blaze coming from a back bedroom and called 911.

Taylor and her children safely made it out of the home.

Green says as firefighters arrived they saw flames coming from the roof of the mobile home. They battled it for several hours but were unable to save the residence. In addition to their home, the family lost all their personal belongings except the family automobile.

The car, which was parked only feet from the house, was towed clear of the scene by Walker's Wrecker Service.

Members of the Cookeville Highway, Short Mountain Highway, and the Midway Fire Stations responded along with the tanker truck. Members of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department and EMS were also on the scene.

Lattimore Re-elected Chairman of School Board

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

Seventh District School Board member Johnny Lattimore was re-elected Chairman of the Board of Education Thursday night.

The board re-organizes each September, naming a chairman, vice-chairman, and an assistant secretary.

Lattimore was first elected chairman of the school board last September.

Second District member Charles Robinson was named Vice-Chairman and Sixth District member Linda Fuston was selected Assistant Secretary for the year.

In other business, Director of Schools Mark Willoughby presented the board his monthly written report on personnel moves made since the August meeting.

Those employed include:

Jean Bandy, substitute cafeteria worker; Donna Emmons, teacher at DCHS; Elizabeth Redmon, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School; Jennifer Gay, Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School; Tamara Lambert, Educational Assistant at DCHS; and Joyce Robinson, Federal Programs Payroll/Bookkeeper.

Those named to the approved substitute teacher list include:

Guylene Atnip, Suzette Barnes, Carolyn Caldwell, Nancy Cantrell, Phyllis Cantrell, Ginger Caplinger, Trent Colwell, Melissa Cook, Darcie Cripps, Kenderly Cripps, Marie Cripps, Kristie Dougherty, India Duncan, Faye Evans, Darlene Evans, Kimberly Foutch, Debbie France, Leanne Frasier, Misty Franklin, Doris Graham, Vicki Haggard, Judith Hale, Melissa Hale, Connie Henry, Susan Hight, Jean Hope, Lori Manns, Cody Martin, Josh Melton, Ashley Mooneyham, Beth Pafford, Dianne Page, Elaine Perricone, Jeania Poss, Misty Poss, Debra Poteete, Lisa Puckett, Kimberly Rhea, Beth Rhody, Vickie Simpson, Teresa Spencer, George Sperry, Thomas Sufano, Tammy Turner, Amanda Vaughn, Wanda Vickers, Susan Waggoner, Helen Wilson, Kimberly Young, and Nancy Young.

Amanda Mathis, a teacher at Northside Elementary School, was granted a leave of absence as requested.

Suzanne Williams was transferred from a cafeteria position at DCHS to an Educational Assistant position. Cynthia Armour was transferred from a substitute to a part-time cafeteria position at DCHS and Helen Lafever was transferred from a substitute to a part-time cafeteria position at DCHS.

School Board Votes To Establish An Adult High School

September 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night voted to establish an Adult High School.

Materials Supervisor Larry Johnson says the school will be set up as a non-structured learning center for those age 17 and older who have dropped out of school but want to complete their high school education. \"All we have to do is get a building approved by the fire marshal, apply for a school number, then we can set it up.\"

The school, to be located in an existing building near DCHS, will most likely operate on a 20 hour a week schedule, possibly from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. five days a week.

Johnson says the adult high school will be operated as a separate school from DCHS and classes will be taught by qualified teachers, however it will be non-structured, meaning that students won't be required to attend and each student may have a different course of study even though they share the same classroom. \"Some might be working on history while others are working on science in the same classroom under the direction of a certified and qualified teacher. We will have to keep attendance and everything, just like a regular school, but it will be a school unto itself with a different address and everything.We'll be funded under the BEP on the number of students who attend but we won't have to do any monthly reports and everything like we do for a regular school.\"

Students must complete 70 contact hours in order to earn a half credit or 133 contact hours for one whole credit.

Johnson says it's a great second chance opportunity for dropouts. \"We have a number of 17 year olds, soon to be 18 year olds, who are on the verge of dropping out. Since I've been working on the truancy board, we've had one student, who will turn 18 the 17th of this month, tell us she's quitting because she has to work. This might give her an opportunity to go back to school and finish her schooling.\"

Johnson added \"Let's say you have a child that's a high school senior who lacks nine credits. Well he's got every reason to want to drop out because he can't get but eight credits in one year. If he had this (adult high school) he could go after school and pick up an extra credit.\"

DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix says the adult high school will take the place of the high school GED program but won't count against the DCHS graduation rate. Students who attend the adult high school will also be required to earn fewer credits. \"We wouldn't have our high school GED program. We would have our adult high school that we would transfer them to and if they didn't want to go to that then they could go to the adult GED program. They still have to pass the Gateway but with the Adult High School, students just need 21 credits, instead of 28 and they would not count on our graduation rate. They would graduate from the adult high school, not the regular high school. It's a separate school. Last year we had 17 students that graduated with a GED, which was over 12% of our graduates. That was killing our graduation rate.\"

One Person Wounded In Shooting

September 15, 2006
Dwayne Page

One person was reportedly wounded in a shooting Thursday night at a location on White Street in Smithville.

The incident was reported at 11:35 p.m. The male wounded in the shooting was reportedly taken to DeKalb Community Hospital and then later transferred to a Nashville Hospital.

Smithville Police are investigating the shooting.

No other details were available.

Cantrell Charged With Attempted Murder of Gordonsville Man After Thursday Night Shooting

September 15, 2006
Dwayne Page

A 21 year old Gordonsville man is in Vanderbilt Hospital after being shot in the face Thursday night.

The victim is identified as Joseph Givens of Baker Lane, Gordonsville.

The man accused of doing the shooting, 25 year old Garth Wayne Cantrell of Pine Grove Road, Smithville, is charged with attempted first degree murder. His bond is set at $125,000.

According to a press release by Thomas Stufano, Executive Officer of the Smithville Police Department, law enforcement officers from the Smithville Police Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department responded to a residence located in the 300 block of White Street, Smithville Thursday night at approximately 11:35 p.m.

The press release states that \"Upon arrival, officers discovered that Givens had been shot in the face with a small caliber rifle by a known assailant. With cooperative effort of DeKalb County Sheriff Patrick Ray, responding agencies were able to coordinate their assets and arrest Cantrell shortly after the incident.\"

Cantrell was booked into the DeKalb County Jail. The victim was transported to Vanderbilt Hospital where he remains in stable condition.

The case is still under investigation by Lieutenant Richard Jennings of the Smithville Police Department.


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