Local News Articles

Young Named DeKalb County Firefighter of the Year

January 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

Lieutenant Mark Young was named "County Fire Fighter of the Year" Saturday night during the department's annual award's banquet held at the Smithville Church of God annex.

County Fire Chief Donny Green, who presided over the ceremony, said Young earned the award for having put in 110 hours of training, the most of any firefighter except the "Rookie Fire Fighter of the Year".

Shawn Puckett of the Midway Station received the "Rookie" award which goes to the fire fighter with the most hours of training during their first year as a member of the department. Green says Puckett, in his first year, put in 132 hours of training.

Roy Merriman, Assistant Fire Chief presented the Git R Done Award to Lieutenant Anthony Boyd. This award is given to the firefighter who performs services above and beyond the call of duty for the fire department.

Merriman also presented several "Years of Service Awards"

Those earning five year service pins are Billy Crymes, Calvin Martin, Jimmy Martin, Billy Parker, James Pennington, Tim Reynolds, Kenneth Waggoner, and Philip Waggoner.

Ronald Merriman received his ten year service pin.

A fifteen year service pin was presented to Wayne Adcock

Bob Rice accepted his twenty year service pin

A thirty year service pin will be presented to Hugh Washer.

Honorary Lifetime Membership Awards were presented for exemplary service to Larry Evans, a former County Fire Chief; to County Mayor Mike Foster; and to the current County Fire Chief Donny Green.

Teen Dies in Fiery Crash on Blue Springs Road

January 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

A teenage boy lost his life when the pickup truck he was driving left the road, crashed into a tree, and caught fire on the Blue Springs Road Saturday night.

Dead is 16 year old Hunter Loren Davis.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Jeremy Wilhite and Sergeant Ashley Mercer of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

According to their report, the boy was driving a 1970 Chevy pickup truck east on the Blue Springs Road when he failed to maintain the lane of travel, crossed the westbound lane, exited the northside of the roadway and struck a tree.

A passerby reportedly spotted the truck on fire and called 911 at 8:49 p.m. The boy was later found dead inside the vehicle.

Members of the Blue Springs and Keltonburg Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department rushed to the scene and extinguished the blaze. The department's extrication team later arrived and removed the driver's side door of the truck so that the body could be removed after earlier attempts to pry open the door with a crow bar proved unsuccessful.

Davis' death marks the second traffic fatality this month in DeKalb County.

New Location Named for Rock Castle Voting Precinct

January 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Election Commission has announced that the polling place for the Rock Castle precinct has changed.

The new voting location is the Austin Bottom Fire Hall which is located at 9430 Goff Ridge Road, Baxter. Each voter has been mailed a notice of the change and a new voter registration card.

On Election Day, February 5th, voting will begin at the Fire Hall at 8:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m.

Voters should take the voter registration card or some other form of identification with them when they go to vote.

If anyone has any questions please contact the Election Commission office at 597-4146.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Increases to 5.1% in December

January 25, 2008
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County's unemployment rate for December was 5.1%, up from 4.8% in November and 4.7% in December 2006.

The DeKalb County Labor Force for December was 10,220. A total of 9,700 were employed and 520 were unemployed.

Meanwhile, Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December was 5.3 percent, up from the November rate of 4.9 percent. The United States' unemployment rate went up to 5.0 percent for December from 4.7 percent in November.

County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for December show 10 counties decreased, 76 counties increased and 9 counties remained the same.

Williamson County registered the state's lowest county unemployment rate at 3.6 percent. Knox County followed at 3.7 percent. Pickett County had the state's highest at 9.9 percent, followed by Marshall County at 9.1 percent.

Knoxville had the state's lowest major metropolitan statistical area (MSA) rate at 4.0 percent, . The Nashville-Murfreesboro MSA remained unchanged from November's 4.2 percent. The Chattanooga MSA was 4.3 percent and the Memphis MSA went up to 5.5 percent from 5.2 percent in November.

Missing Elderly Man Returns Home Safely

January 24, 2008
Dwayne Page

An 82 year old man who apparently wandered away from home in the Blue Springs area shortly after noon today (Thursday) after visiting a neighbor returned home safely just before dark.

Austin Eugene Underwood, who apparently has Alzheimer's Disease, had not been seen or heard from since around 12:15 p.m. but he emerged from the woods near his home around 5:00 p.m.

He and his wife Evelyn reside at 693 Lassiter Road.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Underwood was cold and appeared to be somewhat confused but other than some scratches where he had been in the woods, he appeared to be okay. First responders from the fire department were on the scene to evaluate his condition.

Underwood, who is about 5 feet, 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 130 pounds, was wearing a black fur hat, a thin blue flannel jacket, and a pair of blue Docker pants and dress shoes when he went missing.

Underwood, a retired minister, apparently left home around noon to go across the road to visit a neighbor. According to the neighbor, Underwood stayed about fifteen minutes and then left to go back home.

Underwood's wife, who was not at home at the time, called the house to check on him around 12:45 p.m. but no one answered the phone.

She returned home and discovered he was gone.

Sheriff Ray says he wants to express his appreciation to all those who helped in the search effort including members of the Sheriff's Department, DeKalb County Rescue Squad, First Responders from the Fire Department, concerned citizens, friends and family of the Underwoods, and members of the Smithville Church of God, where Underwood and his wife attend church.

Sheriff Ray also wishes to thank the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Unit, who was enroute by helicopter to conduct an aerial search when Underwood returned; local troopers of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who conducted a road search; and the Putnam County K-9 and THP STRIKE Unit, who were enroute to help locate Underwood.

In addition, Sheriff Ray would also like to say thanks to the team at Central Dispatch for their help in organizing the search and to constable Mark Milam, who went door to door in the neighborhood, asking residents if they had seen or knew of Underwood's whereabouts.

Slippery Road Blamed for Unusual Crash

January 23, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 28 year old woman, who is also pregnant, apparently escaped serious injury early Tuesday morning after the truck she was driving went out of control and crashed into the garage side of a house at 625 Bethel Road.

The three people inside the house at the time of the accident were not hurt.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Shalyn Eaton was traveling west in a 1996 Ford F-150 around 5:30 a.m. when she went off the left side of the road, overcorrected and then came back across the road. The truck then exited the road to the right into a yard and then traveled some 1,200 feet before crashing into the side of the garage at the residence of Bridgette Ribble. The house is a rent home belonging to Wilburn Winnette.

According to Trooper Jennings, Ribble had just returned home after taking her husband to work, but she wasn't injured. Another woman and her son, also at the residence, were apparently asleep on a bunk bed in the garage where the crash occurred, but they too were uninjured.

Eaton was transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital where she was expected to have been treated and released.

Trooper Jennings says the slippery road conditions are believed to have contributed to the crash.

Gordon Wants To Close Loophole In Sex Offender Registration

January 23, 2008

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon is supporting legislation to close a loophole in a federal law requiring convicted child predators to register as sex offenders.

"As a parent, I take the job of protecting children against sex offenders and online predators very seriously," said Gordon. "When Congress passed a law requiring a national sex offender registry, we wanted to give law enforcement agencies and parents the tools they need
to safeguard children against these criminals."

Gordon is co-sponsoring the Sex Offender Mandatory Registration Act to make technical corrections that would close a loophole in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which became law in 2006.

While the intent of Congress was to require all sex offenders to register with authorities, the loophole resulted in the release of a man who failed to register as a sex offender when he moved
from Iowa to Missouri. The loophole led a federal judge to rule in favor of the man, who had been convicted on seven accounts of acting as a sexual predator.

"This loophole shouldn't be allowed to jeopardize the safety of one more young person in America," said Gordon. "Congress should act swiftly to close it and make our original intentions clear."

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is named after a six-year old boy who was abducted in 1981 and later found murdered. Adam was the son of Reva and John Walsh, who became a victims' rights advocate and host of the "America's Most Wanted"
television show.

The law established a National Sex Offender Registry, increased penalties for crimes against children and allowed the Department of Justice to provide background checks to screen teachers, employees and prospective foster or adoptive parents. It also authorized grants to promote Internet safety and to help local law enforcement agencies integrate their sex offender registry systems.

DeKalb Fair Named Best in it's Class for 2007

January 21, 2008

The DeKalb County Fair Association has been awarded " Best Fair" in it's Class for 2007 by the Tennessee Association of Fairs Convention.

The award was presented Saturday night during a ceremony at the convention held in Nashville at the Airport Marriott Hotel

The convention is sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and the Tennessee Fairs Association.

This year's convention was attended by more than 800 fair mangers, vendors, and volunteers. Nearly 50 of the states "best fairs" were represented.

Five areas of fair operation have been identified as the most important characteristics in evaluating fairs. These are Agriculture/Livestock/Exhibits/Exhibitors, General Appearance, Community
Participation, Programs, and Carnival.

The DeKalb County Fair Board would like to thank the sponsors, supporters, volunteers, and the people of DeKalb County for making this fair one of the best in Tennessee for 2007.

Sheriff's Department Makes Five Arrests on Sunday

January 21, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested five people Sunday on various charges.

45 year old Connie Gale Chapman was charged with simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says a deputy spotted a vehicle on the side of the road on West Main Street Dowelltown and found Chapman inside. Upon consent to search, Chapman was found to have two plastic bags of marijuana and a bottle containing marijuana cigarette butts. Chapman was placed under arrest and has posted a $2,000 bond. Her court date is set for April 30th.

Meanwhile, in another case, two people were arrested on Webb Lane, Smithville after county deputies responded to a disturbance call. 41 year old Mark Gregory Brock was charged with domestic assault, driving on revoked driver's license, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Sheriff Ray says Brock was leaving the residence when deputies arrived at the scene and discovered that he was driving on a revoked driver's license. Upon further investigation, Brock was found to have assaulted his wife, 37 year old Daphney Kay Brock, by slapping her in the face. Brock and his wife were charged with possession of drug paraphernalia after officers found crack pipes and cut straws with a white residue.

Bond for Mark Brock was set at $4,500 and his court date is set for January 31st. Daphney Brock will also appear in court on January 31st and her bond was set at $1,000.

Also on Sunday, deputies went to the residence of 58 year old Harold Gene Blackwell of Jay Hutchins Road to execute a state warrant for failure to appear in court on 31 year old Russell Allen Blackwell.

Sheriff Ray says when deputies arrived at the residence, they saw Russell Blackwell through a window in the home. Harold Blackwell came to the door and told the officers that Russell was not there. Deputies discovered that Harold Blackwell had a trap door in the bathroom closet of his home and that Russell had gone through that passageway to get under the home, where he was found hiding.

Russell Blackwell was arrested on the failure to appear warrant and he is being held without bond. His court date is January 30th.

Sheriff Ray says Harold Blackwell admitted to hiding Russell Blackwell and he was charged with aiding and abetting. His bond is set at $3,500 and his court date was set for February 21st.

Local Man Dies in Saturday Evening Wreck

January 19, 2008
Dwayne Page

A DeKalb County man died from injuries suffered in a pickup truck crash around 5:22 p.m. Saturday evening on New Home Road.

Trooper Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 40 year old Roy R. Colburn, III of Tammy K. Road, Dowelltown was driving south in a 2000 Chevy S-10 pickup truck when he failed to negotiate a curve, ran off the north bound lane, struck a culvert and rolled three times. The truck then hit a utility pole, rotated 180 degrees and came to rest up on it's wheels in a private driveway.

DeKalb EMS quickly arrived to treat Colburn and a Life Flight helicopter crew also landed at the scene. Colburn was transported by ground ambulance to DeKalb Community Hospital where he died.

Trooper Raymond says Colburn was wearing a seat belt and there was no indication of alcohol.

Trooper Raymond was assisted by Lieutenant Brian Lawson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene providing assistance and the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department was at the hospital.


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