Local News Articles

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings Fired

November 17, 2009
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings
Mayor Taft Hendrixson
Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks (left) and Hunter Hendrixson
Smithville Police Lieutenant Steven Leffew

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings has been fired.

The City of Smithville's discipline board met briefly Tuesday morning at city hall and by a vote of 2 to 1, dismissed Chief Jennings.

Members of the board, Alderman and Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks and Mayor Taft Hendrixson both voted in concurrence with the suspension and termination. Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson voted against the suspension and termination.

Prior to the vote, Mayor Hendrixson read the causes for the suspension without pay, pending termination.

In response, Jennings read from a written statement, "To Mayor Hendrixson, Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, and Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson. I have reviewed the allegations lodged against me by Police Commissioner Meeks. If these allegations were true and if you looked at them individually, or all together, they do not remotely rise to the level of cause that would require my termination from the City of Smithville. I have operated at all times within the scope of my authority as Police Chief."

After the vote, Jennings read from another written statement, "I am requesting a hearing before the full board of aldermen at the next regular board meeting on December 7th at the city hall to address my termination of employment."

If the aldermen vote to uphold the decision to terminate Jennings, he would apparently have no other recourse other than litigation in court.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew is the "Officer in Charge" of the Smithville Police Department until the issue with the police chief position is resolved.

The notice of suspension reads as follows "You (Jennings) are being suspended for the following reason- dereliction of duties/negligence.

1. In the past two years, as Police Chief, you have not developed a comprehensive plan to combat crime problems in the City of Smithville, as evidenced by your admission to the board at the workshop of September 14th, 2009. You have not reached out to other agencies for help in combating these problems.

2. You were given two additional officers by the previous board with your promise that you then would be able to do drug investigations. To date, this has not happened.

3. At the workshop on September 14th, 2009, you did not know how many officers you had employed in the department, as evidenced by the CD of the meeting.

4. You have 4 or 5 officers-including yourself and the investigator-on duty on the day shift. You could have used some of these officers to work drug operations.

5. Your claim that the police department's budget has been cut is not substantiated by the 2008-09 city budget. In fact, there was an increase in the police department's budget over the previous year's budget. Also, your claim that all of your overtime has been cut is not true. You are still having overtime in your department.

6. There has been little progress made toward having a better-trained Police Force in specialized areas.

7. Community relations between your office and the public have deteriorated over the last two years.

8. You have not been a "working chief" out patrolling, issuing traffic tickets, answering calls for service, and making arrests.

9. You have authorized the use of a police vehicle for the transportation of civilians out of the area of authority of the Smithville Police Department.

10. It is the responsibility of all department heads to be available for call out at all times. You advised that you turn off your city cell phone when you leave for the day.

11. You have demonstrated lack of adequate supervision of officers.

City's Three Man Discipline Board to Rule on Police Chief Richard Jennings' Case Tuesday

November 16, 2009
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings may learn his fate Tuesday morning when the city's three man discipline board rules on whether he should be terminated.

Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks signed the suspension of Jennings without pay, pending termination last Thursday. Mayor Taft Hendrixson, while he did not sign the suspension, said he gave verbal concurrence with it.

The hearing is at 10:00 a.m. in the mayor's office at city hall, but it could be relocated to the upstairs meeting room at city hall if more room is needed to accommodate members of the public who wish to attend.

Concerned citizen Faye Sandosky addressed the mayor and board of aldermen Monday night with questions about the process being followed to suspend and fire Chief Jennings. She asked for an opinion from city attorney Vester Parsley, Jr. as to whether the suspension notice was supposed to be signed by both the police commissioner and mayor to make it legally binding. She also expressed her concern that while this is to be an open hearing under the state's sunshine law, it is to be conducted in the mayor's office, which is small and cannot accommodate a large gathering. Sandosky further complained that the hearing was scheduled at a time when the city attorney could not attend to give legal counsel.

In response, Mayor Hendrixson said "this is an automatic meeting held in accordance with ordinance #419. It's to be held within three days of the suspension. It will be the three man board consisting of myself, the Police Commissioner (Aaron Meeks), and the Secretary-Treasurer (Hunter Hendrixson). It has been posted that this is a public meeting."

"As far as my concurrence, there no where says I have to sign it. I concurred orally. I can substantiate that if need be but there's no where in the ordinance that says I have to sign anything."

"I set this (meeting) for my office. If there is more people there, too many for that office, it will be moved here (upstairs at city hall)."

"I didn't know the city attorney was going to be (unavailable) prior (to scheduling the meeting). I didn't know he was supposed to be there. This is between myself, the police commissioner, and the secretary-treasurer and what it will consist of is we will review the causes again for suspension. If we concur that the suspension is warranted Chief Jennings will be terminated. If we don't concur that the suspension was warranted, he will be reinstated with full benefits. If we concur that it is warranted, he can submit a written notice to me and he and his counsel can appear at the next board meeting (December 7th) to give his causes or why he thinks he should not be suspended."

City attorney Parsley, in response to Sandosky, added "I do not think it (notice of suspension) has to be signed by both Mr. Meeks and the Mayor. They do have to concur. The ordinance says that. Then within 72 hours there has to be a hearing. Unfortunately I have a trial that's been set for here in Smithville at nine o'clock tomorrow (Tuesday). The ordinance doesn't say that I have to be there (at the Jennings hearing). The mayor and Hunter asked if I could be there, but unfortunately I can't be. I don't think it's necessary."

If Jennings is terminated by the three man discipline board tomorrow (Tuesday) he may request in writing, an appeal before the entire five member board of aldermen, where they would hear both sides of the case and make a final ruling on Jennings' termination.

The City of Smithville has an ordinance regulating charitable roadblocks which are often conducted at major intersections to raise money for various causes or needs.

However, members of the board of aldermen, in the interest of public safety, want the city to have stricter enforcement.

No action was taken Monday night, but the aldermen may vote on a revised ordinance at the next meeting, with some changes. Aldermen are concerned for the people who stand in the middle of busy intersections soliciting donations and are fearful that someone could get hurt.

Monday night, they proposed some new restrictions they would like to see in the revised ordinance, including the possibility of limiting any group to not more than two charitable roadblocks per year; requiring all participants to wear protective vests (possibly orange in color); requiring groups to show proof that they are a legitimate non-profit 501C3 or 4 organization; prohibiting solicitors from standing in the road (requiring them instead to stand on the sidewalks near the intersections); establishing a minimum age for solicitors (no one under age 14 could participate in the roadblocks); establishing a four hour time limit for any group to solicit donations at intersections; and to require them to have in their possession a permit, issued to them by the City of Smithville Police Department.

First reading action on the revised ordinance may be considered at the December 7th meeting of the mayor and board of aldermen.

In other business, the board voted to retire the Smithville Police Department's K-9 dog Astro from service once a new dog has been trained and put in service to replace him. Officer Bradley Tatrow made the request Monday night saying the dog has a medical condition as confirmed by a local veterinarian. Tatrow asked that the city allow him to take ownership of Astro and he would, at his own expense, provide the city another trained K-9. He says the new dog is in training now and could be ready for service within two months. The aldermen granted Officer Tatrow's request.

Meanwhile, the aldermen voted to purchase a vermeer brush chipper for $25,250.

Arrests made in Drug Investigation

November 16, 2009
Dwayne Page
Chasity Jennine Phillips
Randy Lynn Dilldine
James Charlie Donelson Jr
Virginia Ruth Carrier

A drug investigation by the sheriff's department at a Smithville residence results in charges.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives and deputies went to the home of 27 year old Chasity Jennine Phillips of Shady Drive Smithville on Tuesday, November 10th and received consent to search. They went there to conduct an investigation into the sale of drugs from the Phillips home. Phillips was arrested after detectives found in her bedroom, four hydrocodone and six soma pills in a Crown Royal whiskey bag. Officers also found a plate containing a white powder residue, a straw and Phillips' insurance card in the plate. Phillips was charged with possession of a schedule III drug and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond was set at $2,500 and her court date is November 19th. Another person, 22 year old Lashonda D. Hardy of Mendota Drive Detroit, Michigan was also arrested at the residence. She was charged with criminal impersonation after detectives asked her for consent to search and she told them that she could not find her identification. Hardy gave a fake name but detectives, during the search, found her drivers license. Bond for Hardy was set at $2,500 and her court date is November 19th. Meanwhile, 34 year old Andre Ronrico Watson also of Shady Drive, who was present in the home, was arrested and charged with violation of probation. His bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on November 19th.

In another case, 47 year old Randy Lynn Dilldine of Wesley Chapel Road, Sparta and 51 year old James Charlie Donelson Jr. of Green Road, Sparta were arrested on Wednesday, November 11th after they were stopped on Johnson Chapel Road for a traffic violation. Upon consent to search, deputies found two Xanax in Dilldine's front pocket. The pills were in a cigarette wrapper. Officers also found on Donelson's person a bag containing a white powder believed to be methamphetamine and an ink pen barrel and foil thought to be used to smoke the drug. Dilldine was charged with simple possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax). His bond was set $1,000. Donelson was charged with simple possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. His bond was set at $2,000. Both men will appear in court on December 3rd.

On Thursday, November 12th, a deputy saw 27 year old Jessica French Hale of Walker Drive, Smithville driving a vehicle on Highway 56 South. The officer had prior knowledge that she was named in an arrest warrant in Warren County. The deputy stopped Hale and checked her drivers license number and learned that it was suspended in Warren County. Hale was charged locally with a first offense of driving on a suspended license. Bond for Hale was set at $1,000 and she will appear in court on December 2nd.

22 year old Virginia Ruth Carrier of Haley Road, Smithville was arrested on Friday, November 13th for aggravated burglary and theft of property over $500. Detectives allege that on November 1st, Carrier went to Lee Braswell Road and entered a residence through a back door. While there, she took $1,200 in jewelry and $90 in change without the owner's consent. Carrier then carried the jewelry a day or two later to a jewelry shop in DeKalb County and a pawn shop in Murfreesboro and sold the stolen jewelry. Bond for Carrier was set at $11,000 and she will appear in court on December 3rd.

Also on Friday, a deputy while on patrol on Midway Road, spotted 21 year old Homer Anthony Petty II of Banks Pisgah Road Smithville driving a motor vehicle. The officer had prior knowledge that Petty's drivers license was suspended. After a check of Petty's license, he was arrested for driving on a suspended drivers license. Petty's bond was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on December 2nd.

On Sunday, November 15th, a deputy stopped 25 year old Christopher Neal Keith of 7th Avenue South Dechard, Tennessee for a traffic violation on Highway 70 East. The officer checked Keith's drivers license, and found it was suspended for failure to satisfy citations in Franklin County. Keith was charged with a first offense of driving on a suspended license. His bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on December 16th.

Paul Rowland Named Coach of New Baseball Program

November 16, 2009
Dwayne Page

Paul Rowland has been named head coach of the new baseball program being organized at DeKalb West School.

Jeff McMillen, member of the booster group which made the selection, says Rowland will do a great job. "We have settled in on picking us a head coach, Paul Rowland. We had three good applicants for the baseball program. The board did select the coach which consists of myself, Jeff McMillen , Tim Davenport, Bennie Curtis, and Clark Oakley. There was a lot of time put into this selection. We all came to an agreement in the end as to what we thought was in the best interest of the school, the kids, and everybody involved. We feel like Paul will take this program forward. He'll have a winning program. We've got some guidelines we're trying to put together in a coach's handbook so he'll know what we expect from him, and what he is to expect from us. I think it will work great."

The board of education, last month, gave approval for the new baseball program, on a one year trial basis. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students from both DeKalb West and DeKalb Middle School will make up the team called the "Dawgs". The program will be supported through fundraisers and public donations. No funds from the school system are being allocated for it

Rowland and his assistants will serve without pay as volunteer coaches. McMillen says Dewayne Martin will be an assistant coach.

Meanwhile, McMillen says students interested in being a player on the team may pick up an application form today through Friday at their schools. Forms must be returned by this Friday, November 20th. "On Monday, November 16th through Friday, November 20th is your opportunity to sign up. Forms will be passed out at DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb West School. Those forms have to be turned back into the school by Friday, November 20th. From that point, we will contact each person who signs the form to let them know of the times and dates of the tryouts. We're really shooting for right after Thanksgiving to get this done. We want a team picked because we'll have to do some fund raising through the parents to get our equipment and do the things that need to be done to make things work. We hope to have a team picked and in place by the first or second week in December."

McMillen says the the season will start around March 1st and go through the end of April. "We're shooting for possibly a twelve to fourteen game season and a junior varsity team of maybe six to eight games and more if we can get it into our schedule. We're looking to have eighteen to twenty players on the team. The age groups are sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. We've already had schools contacting us about playing us so I think we'll be able to fill the schedule okay but it will be up to the school and principal to fill that schedule. That'll be their job." All home games will be played at DeKalb West School and parents will be responsible for transporting the students to and from the games.

Again, McMillen says the program will be supported by donations. "Funding is going to be the issue so if anybody wants to make a donation, we'll be glad to take it. We're not going to beg to try to get people to give but we believe this will be good for the kids. Our goal is to run a good, clean organization, something that the school system is very proud of."

Kings and Queens Crowned During Harvest Festival at DeKalb West School

November 15, 2009
Dwayne Page
Caitlyn Hicks and Dakota Hale
Hunter Robinson and Kaylee Braswell
 Will Puckett

Kings and Queens were crowned Saturday night during the annual DeKalb West School Harvest Festival, sponsored by the PTO.

Tracy Lawrence, Secretary of the DeKalb West PTO, says the Harvest Festival is the organization's major fundraiser for the year and thousands of dollars was raised through LIVE and Silent Auctions, games for the kids, a cake walk, taco supper, and ticket sales from all the classes in the school which determined the kings and queens. "This is our only fundraiser and we have three or four ideas that have been presented to us so far (on how to spend the money). One was to provide some of the equipment for the new DeKalb County Junior Baseball Team that has been started up along with other various things such as supplies for the teachers and the school. We have an AR Program (Accelerated Reading Program) that is usually sponsored by the PTO where we provide money for them to have prizes. Our goal (in this fundraiser) is $10,000. We haven't counted everything yet so we're not sure if we met that. We would like to thank everyone. We had a lot of businesses throughout the county, not only DeKalb but Wilson, and other areas that gave monetary donations as well as items for the auction. We had grocery stores providing some food items or at discount prices so we would just like to thank everybody for that as well."

Officers of the DeKalb West PTO in addition to Lawrence are President Missy McKay, Vice President Bert Driver, and Treasurer Sean Driver.

The King and Queen of the Pre-Kindergarten to Second Grade Division are Caitlyn Hicks and Dakota Hale of Lindsey Holmes' kindergarten classroom. The class raised $465, the most of any class in the division.

Hicks is the daughter of Everette and Amanda Hicks and Hale is the son of William Hale and Rebekah Hale.

Others representing the division were Abbie Gann and Jeremiah Restrepo from Amy Young's pre-kindergarten class. Gann is the daughter of Jeremy Gann and Michelle Gann. Restrepo is the son of Carlos and Elizabeth Restrepo..

Becca Lawrence and Parker Winfree represented Debra Poteete's kindergarten class. Lawrence is the daughter of Charlie and Tracy Lawrence. Winfree is the son of Scott and Shellie Winfree.

Savannah Curtis, daughter of Jeff and Glenda Curtis and James Pitman, son of Jeremy and Shawn Pitman, represented Tonya Ellis' kindergarten class.

Lydia Davenport and Parker Vantrease represented Kathy Lawrence's first grade class. Davenport is the daughter of Timothy and Stephanie Davenport. Vantrease is the son of Jeremy and Missy Vantrease..

Representing Cindy Pulley's first grade class were Hannah Van Dyne, daughter of Danny and Susan Van Dyne and Jordan Bailiff, son of Ricky and Chrissy Bailiff.

Haley Dies and Corey Sherman represented Regina Kent's second grade class. Dies is the daughter of Keith and Amanda Dies and Sherman is the son of Dennis Sherman and Jo Ann Vanatta.

Representing Shelia McMillen's second grade classroom were Kenzie Ray, granddaughter of Shirley Ray and Pam Shafnet and Noah Roberts, son of Kevin and Tonya Roberts.

Parker Prince represented Susan West's second grade class. He is the son of Michael and Leigh Ann Prince..

Meanwhile, the King and Queen of the division for Grades 3 to 5 are Kaylee Braswell, daughter of Quastaia Braswell and Hunter Robinson, son of Regina Robinson and Lynn Robinson. This class raised $404, the most of any other class in the division.

Others representing this division were Callie Mulloy and Grayson Redmon of Lori Pryor's third grade class. Mulloy is the daughter of Randy and Nancy Mulloy and Redmon is the son of Mike and Elizabeth Redmon.

Dillon Knowles represented Megan Hardin's third grade class.

Representing Amanda Mullinax's third grade class were Addison Oakley and Elijah Foutch. Oakley is the daughter of Clark and Lisa Oakley and Foutch is the son of Jon and Laura Foutch.

Caitlin Tyree and Christopher Hobbs represented Tammy Payne's fourth grade class. Tyree is the daughter of Josh and Carrie Tyree and Hobbs is the son of Randy and Vickie Hobbs.

Representing Kim Crook's fourth grade class were Taylor Hale and Hunter Faulk. Hale is the daughter of Teresa Hale and Jerome and Tammy Hale. Faulk is the son of Joseph Faulk and Rebecca Faulk.

Tyra Owens and Zack Bass represented Jeana Caplinger's fifth grade class. Owens is the daughter of Heather Owens and Tyrone Owens and Bass is the son of Brandy and Terry Bass

The King of the division for Grades 6 to 8 was Will Puckett of Martha Damron's seventh grade class. He is the son of Henry Puckett and Donna Puckett. This class raised $220, more than any other class in the division.

Others representing the division were Katie Roehner and Teddy Tippin in Janet England's sixth grade class. Roehner is the daughter of William and Christina Roehner. Tippin is the son of Aaron and Thea Tippin.

Sam McMillen and Ashley Grater represented Pat Allen's sixth grade class. McMillen is the son of Jeff and Shelia McMillen and Grater is the daughter of Kurt and Sandra Grater.

Carolyn Plank and Austin Hicks represented Vicki Wilson's seventh grade class. Plank is the daughter of Misty Neal and Hicks is the son of Mark and Trisha Hicks.

Michelle Gay represented Melanie Molander's eighth grade class.

Hope Thomas and Bradley Faulk represented Cynthia Preston's eighth grade class. Thomas is the daughter of Jessie and Becky Thomas and Faulk is the son of Joseph Faulk and Rebecca Faulk.

State Play-off Run Ends for Tigers

November 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

The state playoff run for the DeKalb County Tigers came to an end Friday night as the black and gold lost to the Maplewood Panthers 56 to 30.

The game was played at Hunter's Lane High School in Nashville.

The Tigers scored first on a 35 yard touchdown pass play from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Abram Edwards. Zach Taylor converted on the P.A.T. and DeKalb County led 7-0 with 10:46 left in the first quarter.

Maplewood's Enrico Buchanan put the panthers on the board with 9:36 left in the first period on a 61 yard touchdown run. The P.A.T. attempt was no good and DeKalb County led 7-6.

LaDarius Van Lier scored on a 63 yard touchdown run with 4:23 left in the first period. The two point conversion by Stanley Hagan was good and Maplewood led 14-7. That was the score at the end of the first period.

The Tigers cut the Maplewood lead to 14-10 on a 34 yard field goal by Zach Taylor with 11:35 left in the second quarter.

With 9:50 to go in the second period, Stanley Hagan scored on a 54 yard touchdown run to extend the Maplewood lead. The P.A.T. attempt was no good but the Panthers led 20-10.

DeKalb County got on the board again with seven minutes left in the second period on a 10 yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Hunter Poteete to Abram Edwards. The two point conversion attempt was no good and the Tigers trailed 20 to 16.

Maplewood's Tony Barrett intercepted a Hunter Poteete pass and returned it 10 yards for a touchdown with 4:37 left in the second quarter. The two point conversion was good and the Panthers led 28-16.

Enrico Buchanan caught a 14 yard touchdown pass with 41 seconds left before halftime. The P.A.T. was good and Maplewood led 35 to 16. That was the halftime score.

Maplewood extended the lead with 25 seconds left in the third period on a five yard touchdown run by LaDarius Van Lier. The P.A.T. was good and the Panthers led 42 to 16. That was the score at the end of the third period.

Stanley Hagan scored for Maplewood with 7:46 left in the game on a 32 yard touchdown run. The P.A.T. was good and the Panthers led 49-16.

The Tigers got their first points of the second half with 6:18 left in the fourth period on a 20 yard touchdown pass from Poteete to Sonni Young. The P.A.T. by Taylor was good and DeKalb County trailed 49 to 23

Maplewood answered on a 26 yard touchdown run by Denzel Jones with six minutes left in the game and after the P.A.T. the panthers led 56 to 23.

DeKalb County added another score with 1:41 left in the game on a 27 yard touchdown pass from Poteete to Matt Giles. The P.A.T. by Taylor was good and the Tigers trailed 56 to 30. That was the final score.

So the Tigers will close the book on the 2009 season with an over-all record of 7-5. Their wins were over Oneida, White County, Cannon County, Upperman, Macon County, York Institute, and Greenbrier. The losses were to Warren County, Smith County, Hixson, Livingston Academy, and Maplewood.

TBI Arrests Former Police Officers On Multiple Counts

November 13, 2009

The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has arrested four former police officers from Warren and DeKalb Counties after a TBI investigation into prescription drugs being illegally obtained at a McMinnville clinic. The case culminated Friday after the Warren County Grand Jury handed down indictments on the officers.

Daniel Clayton, 28, and Daniel Conry, 31, both former McMinnville police officers, were each indicted on seven counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic, seven counts of fraudulently obtaining prescription drugs and seven counts of insurance fraud.

Both were booked into the Warren County jail on $147,000 bond each.

David Seibers, 33, formerly a Warren County sheriff's deputy, was indicted on three counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic and three counts of insurance fraud. He was booked into the Warren County Jail on $60,000 bond.

Larry Pedigo, 33, a former DeKalb County sheriff's deputy, was indicted on two counts of delivery of a schedule II narcotic and two counts of fraudulently obtaining drugs. He was booked into the Warren County Jail on $40,000 bond.

On August 3, 2009 TBI agents executed a search warrant on the Americare, an urgent care walk-in clinic, located on South Chancery Street in McMinnville. The officers were all obtaining the drugs from the clinic.

Operation Head to Toe Seeks to Clothe Children in Poverty

November 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

If you would like to help needy children in this community then you're encouraged to support "Operation Head to Toe", a faith-based initiative to assist families who struggle financially.

"Operation Head To Toe" uses donated funds to purchase new school clothes for children.

Betty Turner, Director of Operation Head to Toe, says "many children in our community live in poverty. It is never the children who are at fault, however they suffer the consequences. They come to school in second-hand outfits that are worn and tattered before they even receive them. We may understand what it is like to do without, but very few of us know the vicious cycle of poverty. It affects the human spirit, leaving children with a low self-image and little hope. Some children can't even imagine what it would be like to have new clothes that fit properly."

"Together, we want to break this cycle of poverty. We want to provide a ray of hope to lift the spirits of children, and to help them realize they are members of a community that cares for them."

Operation Head to Toe is a faith-based initiative whose mission is to work in conjunction with the educators of the DeKalb County School System to identify children and youth who have almost nothing in the way of clothing. Once these children and youth are selected, volunteers work with the families to purchase $150 worth of clothes per child.

In 2004, Jeanni Watson, the founder, had this idea to help these children. She received a gift of one hundred dollars in seed money, and Operation Head to Toe began.

That first year, Operation Head to Toe distributed $9,000 of new clothing to children in DeKalb County. In 2008, with the help of over 400 volunteers, donors and educators, Operation Head to Toe received over $15,000 and clothed 118 children. Operation Head to Toe is now part of the DeKalb County Foundation for Education, with a board of directors to help give guidance.

Turner says "in order to allow Operation Head to Toe to continue to be a success story in DeKalb County, we need your help". The 2009 fall distribution campaign is underway. Operation Head to Toe's connection with the DeKalb County Foundation for Education allows your contributions to be tax-deductible. Donations by check should be made payable to Operation Head to Toe. The mailing address is Operation Head to Toe, P.O. Box 372, Smithville, Tennessee 37166.

For more information, call 597-1220 or 597-5920 or email aubr@dtccom.net

Smithville Police Make Arrests for Driving Related Offenses and Public Intoxication

November 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have made several arrests recently for driving related offenses and public intoxication.

24 year old Daniel Estudillo of 322 West Broad Street was arrested Friday, November 6th for leaving the scene of an accident. According to the report, Lieutenant Steven Leffew responded to an automobile accident at East Broad Street and Bright Hill Road. Upon arrival Ray Barrett and Phillip Wilkey stated that a man driving a maroon four door car hit their vehicle and left driving south bound on Bright Hill Road. Lieutenant Leffew proceeded south bound on Bright Hill Road in an attempt to locate the vehicle, when central dispatch advised that another automobile accident had occurred on Bright Hill Road and Dearman Street involving a maroon car. Upon arrival to the scene of the second accident, Lieutenant Leffew learned that the driver of the maroon car was Daniel Estudillo. He was arrested and booked for leaving the scene of an accident and was issued citations for violation of financial responsibility and for being an unlicensed driver.

35 year old Leonel Jimenez Beltran of 415 Juniper Lane was arrested Saturday, November 7th for driving under the influence. The report states that Officer Bradley Tatrow observed a blue and white Chevy pickup truck weaving on West Bryant Street as it was coming to the stop sign at Bryant & South Mountain Street. The vehicle did not stop until it was past the stop sign. The front end of the truck was in the roadway. The vehicle made a left turn onto South Mountain Street. Officer Tatrow says he observed the truck weave left of the yellow line then back into the left hand lane. The truck then weaved into the right lane before coming back into the left lane. Officer Tatrow activated his blue lights to signal the vehicle to stop and the driver pulled very erratically into the driveway of a residence at the corner of South Mountain Street and Village Place. Officer Tatrow says "the driver had ample room to position the vehicle in a manner so that I may have exited the roadway with my vehicle but I did not do so". Upon making contact with the driver, Leonel Beltran, Officer Tatrow says " I smelled a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage. Mr. Beltran's actions were slow and clumsy. He submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly on them. Beltran was placed under arrest for DUI. He submitted to a breath test to determine the alcohol content of his blood and the result of the breath test was .149.

24 year old Joshua L Mullican of 128 Bilbrey Street Cookeville was arrested on Sunday, November 8th for driving on a suspended license. Officer Nathan Estes observed Mullican driving with a headlight out. Officer Estes made the traffic stop at Bill Page Ballpark and upon investigation learned that Mullican's driver licenses was suspended in Putnam County for failure to satisfy a citation.

42 year old Marilyn Strayn of 3107 Midway Road Smithville was arrested for public intoxication on Monday, November 9th. According to the report, Officer Travis K Bryant responded with EMS to 426 Morgan Drrive where he made contact with Ms. Strayn who had passed out on the front porch of the residence. Officer Bryant says her speech was slurred and she was very unsteady on her feet. She also appeared to be disoriented and did not know where she was. Strayn was also unable to answer several questions of EMS personnel in a timely manner. She refused medical treatment and signed the refuse treatment waiver. Officer Bryant advised her that she was under arrest for public intoxication and she was transported to the Smithville Police Department.

54 year old Thomas Michael Beaver of 482 Talley Road was arrested Tuesday, November 10th for public intoxication. Officer Scott Davis was dispatched to 128 East Broad Street (Mapco) in reference to a possible public intoxication. Upon arrival, he observed a man standing by a red truck attempting to pump fuel into his vehicle. He was very unsteady on his feet and seemed to be having difficulty putting the hose in to the fuel tank. Officer Davis made contact with the man, identified as Thomas Michael Beaver. He had an odor of an alcoholic beverage about his breath and his speech was slurred. Beaver at first said he had consumed a couple of drinks but then changed it to one beer. Officer Tatrow spoke with the clerk at Mapco who said Beaver was very unsteady on his feet and had tripped over several things inside the store. She also stated that he urinated all over the bathroom floor and had wet spots on the front and back of his pants. Officer Davis did not witness Beaver driving, however, due to his intoxication level and the possibility that he might drive his vehicle, Beaver was placed under arrest for public intoxication.

Meanwhile, anyone having any information on the following offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210

On Tuesday, November 10th in the early morning hours, someone broke into Florence & White Ford stealing a 52" Hitachi Plasma TV.

On Wednesday, November 11th, Charles D. Atnip reported that two fence posts had been stolen from the corner of Highway 56 & Highway 70. These posts are used to hold up business signs at this location. They went missing sometime on Saturday, November 7th.

On Thursday, November 12th while shopping at Save-A-Lot, someone stole Johnna Sprague's purse out of her shopping cart.

Any information received that will help Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

School Board Adopts Resolution Honoring Director Mark Willoughby

November 13, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring Director of Schools Mark Willoughby..

For the last few months, the board has been recognizing various groups of school system employees as part of the Utrust Make A Difference Program.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson read the resolution which states as follows:

"Whereas, Mr. Mark Willoughby has served with distinction as superintendent of schools for three years; and

Whereas, He has consistently given highest priority to the needs of the students when he has made recommendations and proposed improvements to this board; and

"Whereas, he was worked tirelessly to build support for public education by attending school functions whenever they occur and consistently speaking out for the needs of our school system and the children it serves, and,

"Whereas, he has worked cooperatively with this board of education to initiate the Utrust Employee Appreciation Program which has resulted in improved morale and a better understanding and appreciation of the work of others by our students, staff, and community; and,

Therefore, Be it Resolved that the DeKalb County Board of Education officially recognizes the continued and excellent services of Mr. Mark Willoughby to the youth of DeKalb County and extends its utmost appreciation for the work that he has done to make education an exciting and joyous experience for the students of our district;

Be it further resolved, that the DeKalb County Board of Education hereby declares November 19th, 2009 as Superintendent Appreciation Day in DeKalb County;

Be it further resolved, that each school principal is hereby encouraged to plan and implement a program of appreciation for our superintendent of schools.

Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 and Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th grade addressed the board of education with results of the latest report card on the DeKalb County School System just released by the Tennessee Department of Education. (WJLE recently published a news story on the report card results. Click here to read it http://www.wjle.com/node/9103 or click the link below to listen to the comments of Fontanez and Burklow at the school board meeting) Click here to see the actual report card on DeKalb County Schools http://edu.reportcard.state.tn.us/pls/apex/f?p=200:1:808614981430170::NO:::

In other business, Director Willoughby updated the school board on personnel moves since last month.

Jean Hayes has been transferred to the position of cafeteria manager at Smithville Elementary School.

Cori Sexton has resigned as an educational assistant at DCHS

Barbara Ervin has resigned as cafeteria manager at Smithville Elementary School

Jenny Elrod, a teacher at DeKalb Middle School, has been granted a leave of absence as requested.

Meanwhile, Director Willoughby says response to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program has been great but the large number of participants in the after school programs is affecting the amount of time some students are on the bus in the evenings.

Willoughby says letters are being sent home asking any parents who are willing to voluntarily transport their children home from after school. "We have a lot of students who are staying after school for our 21st Century Programs and other things related to extra help but because we have so many staying after school mainly on Monday and Tuesday, we have students getting home later than we would like. So we sent a note home to these students' parents which states as follows: Thank you so much for allowing your child to participate in the 21st Century Community Learning Centers Grant Program. Principals and teachers indicate that students are learning and the program is helping with class work and providing other opportunities for extra activities for your child."

"Currently, bus transportation is provided for all students at the end of the after school activity. The number of children in the program has increased and children are arriving home later than anticipated on Monday and Tuesday. There is every intent to continue providing transportation, however we are looking at all of our options. If you are able to pick your child up at school after the session ends on Monday and or Tuesday night that would be a tremendous help."

"Again, thank you for allowing the DeKalb County School System to provide this opportunity for your child."

Patty Hale of the DeKalb County Education Association addressed the school board concerning American Education Week November 15th-21st. "Americans nationwide will join the National Education Association in raising awareness about the need to provide every child with a quality public education. The celebration highlights the importance of bringing together educators, parents, students, and communities in a unified effort to build great public schools. It also reflects NEA's vision in calling on America to provide public school students with quality schools so they can grow and achieve in the 21st century."

DCEA President Mandy Dakas, in a letter to principals, wrote of events scheduled for each day during the week.

"Monday, November 16th- School Board Member Day. Each school should be prepared for school board members to tour their school. Classes may write "Thank You" cards to school board members. Public service announcements will be announced this week and next week. Local businesses have been invited to participate by offering discounts to individuals who work in the public school system or by displaying signs throughout our community."

"Tuesday, November, 17th- Parent/Grandparent Day. Encourage your school or individual teachers to send a note home this week inviting parents to come in to the school on this day. They may set up a time to read a book, eat lunch with their child, share their history/talent, or assist a teacher. Give those who do attend a "certificate" which will be provided by the A.R.'s."

"Wednesday, November, 18th- Education Support Professionals Day. Each school needs to decide what they want to do for their ESP's (cafeteria workers, custodians, para-professionals, bus drivers, etc) and then provide it for those individuals. Examples: either the school can provide something or the teachers might decide to bring in something (breakfast, lunch, coffee, doughnuts)"

"Thursday, November 19th- Community Leaders as Educators. Each school needs to take down the names of teachers who would be willing to have a community leader to come into their classroom and teach. Ask community leaders to come to your school to teach a lesson, read a book, assist with a small group, etc."

"Friday, November 20th- Substitute Educators Day. We will be calling all substitute teachers and inviting them to come to Northside Elementary at 3:30 p.m. for cake and punch. We will also give them a certificate of appreciation. (Encourage as many teachers as possible to come to Northside's multi-purpose room to mingle with our fabulous substitute teachers)"


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