Local News Articles

4-H Members Competed at the Regional Wildlife Judging Competition

May 31, 2012
April Martin
4-H Wildlife Judging Team Members

Recently several 4-H members competed at the Regional Wildlife Judging competition.

For the last two months, these 4-Hers learned to identify 45 wildlife species and to determine appropriate wildlife management practices.

The coaches for the team were TWRA officer Mike Beaty, Army Corp. of Engineers Ranger Terry Martin, and Extension Agent April Martin.

The Junior High Team members included: Caitlyn Lawrence, Wyatt Martin, Eli Oliver, Casey Taylor, Morgan Vickers, and Casey Vickers. The team placed 7th in the region and Caitlyn Lawrence was 12th high individual.

The Senior High Team members included: Brooke Reffue, Crystal Vickers, Justin Bass, and Lydia Trail. The team placed 7th in the region.

4-H judging teams is just one of the many activities offered through 4-H to teach important life skills. The University of Tennessee Extension offers all its programs to everyone in the county.

(This is for the photo caption)
4-H Wildlife Judging Team Members: front row (l-r): Crystal Vickers, Casey Vickers, Casey Taylor, Eli Oliver, and Wyatt Martin. Back row: Lydia Trail, Justin Bass, Brooke Reffue, and Caitlyn Lawrence. (photo by April Martin)

451 Vote Early in City Election

May 31, 2012
Dwayne Page

Four hundred fifty one people have voted early to date in the Smithville Municipal Election with four days to go.

Here's how the voting breaks down each day:
Wednesday, May 30, 48 voters
Thursday, May 31, 55 voters
Friday, June 1, 45 voters
Saturday, June 2, 24 voters
Monday, June 4, 38 voters
Tuesday, June 5, 40 voters
Wednesday, June 6, 27 voters
Thursday, June 7, 58 voters
Friday, June 8, 23 voters
Saturday, June 9, 47 voters
Monday, June 11, 22 voters
Tuesday, June 12, 24 voters

Voting continues through Thursday, June 14 at the DeKalb County Election Commission Office on the first floor of the courthouse.

Hours for early voting are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m,
Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. until Noon.

A mayor and two aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 19, each to serve a two year term, beginning July 1. The candidates for mayor are Taft Hendrixson and Jimmy Poss. Candidates for alderman are Scott Davis, Jason Judd Murphy, Tim Stribling, and Steve White.

The ballot will also include a referendum on liquor by the drink in city restaurants. Voters will have the opportunity to vote either "yes" or "no" on whether to "authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in the City of Smithville."

Election day voting, June 19 will be from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. in the basement courtroom of the courthouse.

Fire at Large Hay Barn Keeps Firefighters Busy Tuesday

May 30, 2012
Dwayne Page
Fire Destroys Rolls of Hay and Damages Large Barn on Evins Mill Road

A fire Tuesday damaged a large barn and destroyed more than 200 rolls of wheat hay belonging to Frank Colwell on Evins Mill Road.

County Fire Chief Donny Green told WJLE that Colwell was feeding cattle on his farm when he saw a puff of smoke coming from the barn, a 200 x 75 foot structure, which once served as a dairy barn, now used for hay storage.

Colwell phoned Chief Green to report what he saw. Green then called for firefighters to get enroute. Central dispatch received the call at 10:33 a.m.

Chief Green said the fire, which is believed to have started from spontaneous combustion within the rolls of hay, was difficult to put out. Firefighters spent almost twelve hours on the scene, before leaving around ten p.m. Tuesday night.

According to Chief Green, the barn held more than 300 rolls of wheat hay and two thirds of it was destroyed. But Mr. Colwell was able to save 108 rolls, using a forklift to remove them from the structure. The fire also destroyed about a fourth of the barn.

Chief Green said about 38,000 gallons of water was used to extinguish the fire, most of it coming from an irrigation pond at Pirtle's Nursery.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Midway, Main Station, Keltonburg, and Blue Springs Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with manpower from other county stations. Members of the City of Smithville and North Warren County Fire Departments came to the scene with fire trucks and manpower to render mutual aid assistance, along with deputies of the Sheriff's Department and DeKalb EMS. No one was injured.

Chief Green said he wishes to thank the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department and the North Warren Fire Department for their support.

Cantrell Gets Ten Years Probation in Meth Case

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Justin Andrew Cantrell

A 24 year old man allegedly caught with meth lab components at City Walk Apartments near Smithville Elementary School last fall was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday, May 25.

Justin Andrew Cantrell of Adcock Cemetery Road stood before Judge Leon Burns, Jr. and pleaded guilty to initiation of a process to manufacture methamphetamine. He received a ten year sentence, all suspended to probation, supervised by community corrections. He was fined $2,000 and must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. Cantrell was given jail credit from November 30, 2011 to May 25, 2012

Cantrell was arrested on November 30 and charged with violation of the drug free zone and initiation of a process intended to manufacture methamphetamine.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that detectives and deputies of the sheriff's department saw Cantrell in the parking lot of City Walk Apartments holding a bag. When Cantrell saw the officers he began to walk away from them. When the officers asked to speak to him, Cantrell put the bag down beside of some parked vehicles. One of the detectives went over and looked in the bag, which was partially open. He saw tubing and a plastic bottle containing a clear liquid and noticed it to be the one pot method of manufacturing methamphetamine. The officers also found in the bag a gallon of Coleman fuel, coffee filters, a plastic bottle containing acid, two plastic baggies (cold packs)containing ammonium nitrate, and an ice pack which had been cut open. In his pocket, Cantrell had a coffee filter and a hypodermic needle. Cantrell was taken into custody and charged in the case.

Meanwhile, 30 year old Kenny Bain pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance and received a three year sentence to serve at least 30% before his release eligibility date. Bain was fined $2,000. The sentence is to run concurrently with a probation violation against him. He was given jail credit of 92 days. Bain's probation was revoked for an earlier charge of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and he must serve the balance of his original three year sentence in that case. Again, the revocation is to run concurrently with the sentence he received Friday.

42 year old Wendy Whittemore pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule III controlled substance and received a two year sentence to run concurrently with a violation of probation against her. She was fined $2,000 and given jail credit of 91 days.

47 year old Steven Dale Osment pleaded guilty to hindering a secured creditor and received a two year sentence to serve at least thirty percent, but the term was suspended to probation. He must make restitution of $25,590.

Suspected Drug Dealer Gets Three Years Probation

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Teresa Thomas

A suspected drug dealer, arrested by Smithville Police in a drug bust in January, was given three years probation in DeKalb County Criminal Court on Friday.

36 year old Teresa Thomas appeared before Judge Leon Burns, Jr. and pleaded guilty to possession of a schedule III and VI controlled substance with intent to sell. She received a three year sentence in one case and two years in the other, all suspended to supervised probation. The sentences are to run concurrently for one three year term. Thomas was fined $2,000 and was given jail credit from January 27 to May 25, 2012.

Thomas was arrested on Friday, January 27 in the housing projects on Morgan Drive.

Acting on numerous citizen complaints about suspected drug activity from this residence, Chief Randy Caplinger said Smithville Police conducted an undercover drug investigation, using an informant, who went to Thomas' home on Tuesday, January 24 and made the drug buy.

A search warrant was prepared and served on Thomas at the residence on Friday, January 27. According to Chief Caplinger and Detectives Matt Holmes and Brandon Donnell, police found in Thomas' purse nineteen baggies of marijuana each weighing one gram; ten baggies of pot each weighing two grams; and one baggie containing five grams of marijuana. Also found in her purse were twenty five and a half hydrocodone pills and two and a half suboxone pills. A further search of the home turned up another thirty grams of marijuana, cut straws with residue, a pipe, multiple prescription pill bottles without their labels, two pill crushers, two marijuana cigarettes, scales, two boxes of sandwich bags apparently intended for packaging drugs, and a notebook containing the names of people who allegedly owed Thomas money for drug transactions. An undisclosed amount of cash was also seized. Because children were present in the residence at the time of Thomas' arrest, the Department of Children Services was notified.

Thomas was taken into custody and charged in the case. Police said during the interview, Thomas allegedly admitted to police that the drugs and paraphernalia found in the home belonged to her.

In addition to Chief Caplinger and Detectives Holmes and Donnell, Captain Steven Leffew, K-9 Officer James Cornelius and Officer Matt Farmer assisted in the case.

Meanwhile, two other people were sentenced in court Friday, as the result of drug investigations by the Smithville Police Department, 24 year old Ben Pascal and 41 year old Timothy Lawson.

Pascal pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a three year sentence. He was fined $2,000 and ordered to make $50 restitution to the Smithville Police Department. Pascal must undergo an alcohol and drug assessment. The sentence is to run concurrently with a violation of probation against him. He was given jail credit of 213 days.

Pascal was one five people named in grand jury sealed indictments in December as the result of an undercover drug investigation by the Smithville Police Department. Chief Randy Caplinger said the investigations were conducted by Detectives Matt Holmes and Brandon Donnell with an informant making the drug buys. A TBI agent worked with the detectives in one case. Pascal was charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance. He was indicted with a co-defendant for allegedly selling and delivering dilaudid, a schedule II controlled substance on August 25.

Lawson pleaded guilty to two counts of sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received five years in each case to be served consecutively for a total of ten years. Lawson must serve at least thirty percent of the sentence before his release eligibility date. He was fined $2,000 and was given jail credit from November 28, 2011 to May 25, 2012. Lawson's probation was revoked for an earlier charge of sale of a schedule III controlled substance and he must serve the balance of his original three year sentence in that case. Again, the revocation is to run concurrently with the sentence he received on Friday.

Lawson was originally charged with three counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance in a drug free school zone. The indictments allege that Lawson sold and delivered morphine on July 27, August 4, and August 23. The alleged drug buys took place at the City Walk Apartments, located near Smithville Elementary School.

Detectives Donnell and Holmes went to City Walk Apartment Monday, November 28 to serve the indictments on Lawson but no one came to the door, even though they saw who they thought was Lawson inside. After forcibly entering, the detectives found Lawson who was hiding in the apartment.

Probation for 30 year old Mary Tanner Curtis was revoked Friday.. She must serve the balance of her original six year sentence for attempting to initiate a process to manufacture methamphetamine. She was given jail credit from February 2, 2010 to May 22, 2010 and from April 2, 2012 to May 25, 2012. Curtis may be furloughed to the "DC4" drug court but she must successfully complete the program. If so she may be placed back on probation.

Probation for 35 year old Andy Certain was revoked and he must serve the balance of his original sentence of two years for possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. He was given jail credit from December 4, 2011 to February 3, 2012 and from May 10, 2012 to May 25, 2012. Certain may be furloughed to an approved long term inpatient rehabilitation program.

Probation was partially revoked for 21 year old Ray Underwood. His original sentence was two years for promotion of the manufacturing of methamphetamine. He must serve 180 days in the county jail and then be released to probation again. He was given jail credit from March 1, 2012 to May 25, 2012. His probation will be extended by one year or until costs and fines are paid in full.

DeKalb Jail and Annex Again Meet Minimum Standards for State Certification

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
DeKalb County Jail and Annex

The DeKalb County Jail and Jail Annex have again met minimum standards for certification by the Tennessee Corrections Institute.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said the Tennessee Corrections Institute recently performed an inspection of the DeKalb County Jail and the DeKalb County Jail Annex.

In a letter to Sheriff Ray, TCI Executive Director Beth Ashe, wrote that "The inspection revealed that this facility meets all minimum standards. This status shall be reported to the board of control at its next meeting. After approval from the board of control, you will receive a certificate of certification. You are to be congratulated for attaining this degree of professionalism in your organization," wrote Ashe.

Inspector Joe Ferguson, in the report, wrote that "On May 22, 2012 the DeKalb County Jail and Annex were inspected. " There were no apparent violations found. I recommend continued certification for 2012," he wrote.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said Ferguson " went around to all the cells, checked out refrigerators to make sure they were at the right temperature, checked the menu at the jail, and he went through all of our paperwork. After his review, Ferguson recommended the jail and annex for re-certification," he said.

The DeKalb County Jail and Annex have a certified capacity of 102 beds.

Meanwhile, in his latest report on crime news, Sheriff Ray said that 30 year old Halton Wayne Hicks of West Main Street, Dowelltown is charged with driving on a suspended license. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on June 7.

On Tuesday, May 15, an officer having prior knowledge that Hicks' license were suspended, pulled him over after observing Hicks driving on West Bryant Street. Hicks has two offenses of driving on a suspended license pending in court. He was arrested and brought to the jail.

54 year old Steve Edward Crutcher of Echol Heights, Liberty is charged with a sixth offense of driving on a revoked license. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court June 7.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, May 24, a deputy having prior knowledge that Crutcher's license were revoked, stopped Crutcher after observing him driving on Highway 70. Crutcher admitted to the officer that his license were revoked. A computer check confirmed that his license were revoked for driving under the influence and other offenses in Trousdale, Rutherford, Wilson, and Sumner County.

30 year old Amber Marie Johnson of Gainesboro, named in a January grand jury sealed indictment, was arrested on Thursday, May 24. She is charged with sale and delivery of a schedule II controlled substance (cocaine) and introduction of contraband (cocaine) into a penal institution. Her bond is $60,000 and she will be in court on June 26.

33 year old Jack Mullican, Jr. of Meadow Brook Drive is charged with a second offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court on June 7.

Sheriff Ray reports that on Thursday, May 24, an officer having prior knowledge that Mullican's license were suspended, pulled him over after observing Mullican driving on Juniper Lane. A computer check confirmed his license were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in April, 2011 in DeKalb County. Mullican has prior offenses in Wilson County and another case of driving on a suspended license pending in General Sessions Court here.

Sheriff Pleased with SRO Program

May 29, 2012
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

Sheriff Patrick Ray has been pleased with the School Resource Officer program at DeKalb County High School and would like to see another one in the school system.

Sheriff Ray said grant funds have been sought in recent years for another position without success. "We tried to apply for another SRO two or three years ago, but we did not get that position. We would like to see another SRO in our school system. We would like to see one stationed at DeKalb West School who could also help with schools in Smithville We will probably try again for a grant," he said.

Meanwhile, Kenneth Whitehead, School Resource Officer at DCHS, has filed his year end report with Sheriff Ray.

In his letter to Sheriff Ray, Officer Whitehead reported " As you can see, it has been a very busy year. I have made many arrests and sometimes we tend to think the worst of our school system because of those arrests. Regardless of the numbers, I feel that the school resource officer program is a great asset to the DeKalb County school system. We should not look at only the arrests and evaluate the success or failure of the program, but the overall results both good and bad. I have met with many students and dealt with all kinds of problems throughout this school year. I feel that due to this contact that I have helped these students deal with some problems that the school system just does not have time to deal with. I also feel that just my presence at the school does wonders for the student body. I hope that the school system and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department continues to see the importance of the school resource officer program and what benefits it can obtain from having it. I have enclosed a copy of the 2011-12 school year SRO report. I hope that my reports will help show that there is a need for a second school resource officer in our school system," wrote Whitehead.

The report is as follows:

42 misdemeanor arrests at school (juvenile petitions)
9 drug arrests
27 assists with patrols or with detective divisions of the sheriff's department or police department
776 advisory sessions with students (six of those were with students families and three with law enforcement officers)
236 advisory sessions with parents.
382 advisory sessions with a teacher or staff member
37 classroom lectures
32 special school events attended
30 court appearances
28 motorist assists in parking lot of school
8 club meetings attended
46 cigarette citations
9 fights
Total value of reported stolen property $2,627, of which $2,415 in property was recovered.
Some alcohol, marijuana, pills, and bb gun seized from the school.
15 unruly juveniles dealt with

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 7.5% in April

May 29, 2012

DeKalb County's April unemployment rate dropped to 7.5%, down from 8% in March, and well below the 9.1% rate in April, 2011.

The local labor force for April was at 9,810. A total of 9,070 were employed and 740 were unemployed.

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for April tied for third lowest in the fourteen county Upper Cumberland region with Cannon and Macon. Here's how they rank highest to lowest

Picket County- 12.1%
White- 10.6%
Van Buren-10.5%
Clay- 9.1%

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for April show the rate decreased in 84 counties, increased in five counties, and remained the same in six counties.

Tennessee's unemployment rate for April fell to 7.8 percent, down from the March revised rate of 7.9 percent. The national unemployment rate for April 2012 was 8.1 percent, 0.1 percentage point lower than the March rate.

The state unemployment rate is seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

Knox County had the state's lowest major metropolitan rate of 5.8 percent, up from 5.6 percent in March. Davidson County was 6.5 percent, down from 6.6 percent in the previous month. Hamilton County was 7.0 percent, down from 7.3 percent, and Shelby County was 8.3 percent, down from the March unemployment rate of 9.1 percent.

Fallen Heroes Remembered

May 28, 2012
Dwayne Page
Carlton Miller, Joe Goodwin, and Edward Frazier Lay Wreath
Carlton Miller, Joe Goodwin, Edward Frazier, Ronnie Redmon
Major Jerry Parker and Edward Frazier

Members of our community paused to recognize fallen heroes during a Memorial Day program held Monday morning at the new auditorium in the county complex on South Congress Boulevard.

Following a program of patriotic music and songs by Josh Gulley and Susan Hinton, guest speaker Major Jerry Parker paid tribute to those who served our nation and particularly those from DeKalb County.

"Today is Memorial Day. One of two national holidays when we honor those who serve in the Armed Forces. On November 11 each year we honor our living veterans. Six months later, we honor and remember those who are no longer with us, especially those veterans who gave their lives on the field of battle," said Major Parker.

"America is only 236 years old. But since July 4, 1776, there have been 1-million, 317-thousand 812 Americans killed in action in our armed forces. That figure does not include the many thousands listed as missing in action," he said.

"Memorial Day has gradually changed from a day of remembrance to a day best known now as a day for the beginning of the summer season and for the Indianapolis car race and the Coca Cola 600 stock car race. However, there are still communities such as DeKalb County, which take time from the Memorial Day weekend activities to remember those who have served in our armed forces and who now lie silently in the grave waiting for the resurrection," said Major Parker.

"While we are gathered here today, let us take time to remember the men from DeKalb County who gave their lives in battle in foreign lands and on far away oceans. Most of them were in their late teens or early twenties. We see their names on a plaque at the courthouse and we see their pictures on the wall at schools and in churches. Or in a living room, where a grieving mother after all these years, still mourns for her boy who never came home," he said.

"These men from DeKalb County who died in service to our country did not want to die. But when they were called to duty, they did not flinch and they did not back down when they laid their lives on the line. They were and are our heroes today. We look at their faces in the pictures and notice how young they were. They never grew old. They are forever young. In some ways they are our greatest generation because they gave two lives for their country. They gave the life they had and they gave the life they never had so that we can enjoy the freedoms we have in America and here in DeKalb County," said Major Parker.

"I believe our fallen veterans from DeKalb County would not want us to be sad faced on this Memorial Day. They would want us to enjoy the benefits of freedom they fought for and died for. I think they would also want us to remember them and what they did for us," he said.

"As we leave here today to join family and friends at picnics, cookouts, and other Memorial Day activities, let each of us with real gratitude in our hearts promise that our fallen veterans will always be remembered and never forgotten," said Major Parker.

Major Parker, who was born and raised in Chattanooga, graduated from UT Chattanooga and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army, assigned to the 4th Infantry Division. He served a year in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious service in combat. He later entered the active Army Reserve for six years and served as a Company Commander and as a Brigade staff officer with the rank of Major. He is also a retired Vice President of American General Life and Accident Insurance Company.

The program also included an invocation by Chuck Olson, Pledge of Allegiance by Doyle Smith, a remembrance of local servicemen by Judy Redmon, and the laying of a wreath at the Veterans Memorial Monument in front of the courthouse. Emma Rigsby played taps on her trumpet at the conclusion of the program.

Motorcycle Operator Involved In Crash Faces Drug Charges

May 28, 2012
Dwayne Page

A Nashville man involved in a motorcycle accident on Saturday will be headed for court once he gets out of the hospital.

49 year old John Roland is being charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Those items were found on him after he crashed his motorcycle on Dale Ridge Road Saturday evening.

According to Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Roland was traveling north on a 2001 Suzuki motorcycle when he went off the road while trying to negotiate a curve to the left. He failed to maintain his lane of travel, left the road on the right and struck an earthen embankment. The motorcycle came to rest in a ditch.

Roland was taken by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone set up in a field at the top of Snow Hill near the convenience site. He was airlifted from there by Vandy Life Flight and flown to Vanderbilt Hospital. He is believed to have suffered a broken leg, cuts, and abrasions.

Sheriff's department deputies and the Liberty Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene


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