Local News Articles

Aldermen Adopt New Budget on First Reading

June 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Board of Mayor and Aldermen Monday night adopted on first reading the proposed 2008-2009 budget.

The vote was 3 to 1 in favor. Aldermen Cecil Burger, Steve White, and Jerry Hutchins, Sr. voted in favor while Alderman Willie Thomas voted no. Alderman Tonya Sullivan was absent.

The new budget totals $6-million 041thousand 360 dollars. Under the new spending plan, the property tax rate will remain the same at 68 cents per $100 of assessed value until the aldermen consider approval of the new certified tax rate, which will be 62 cents as the result of property reappraisal.

The new budget calls for the water and sewer rates to remain the same. City water customers will continue to pay $3.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $3.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are 50% higher. The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District is $1.80 per thousand gallons but will increase to $1.85 for January 1st, 2009 sales.

City sewer customers, under the new budget, will continue to pay the flat usage rate of $3.62 plus $3.25 per thousand gallons thereafter.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits is $400 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fee is $400 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, the fees are cost plus 10%. For customers outside the city limits, water tap fees are $525 for a three quarter inch line and $525 for a four inch sewer line. Again, if the lines are larger, then the fees are cost plus 10%.

The proposed budget calls for city employees with up to four years of service to get their automatic step pay increases as defined in the wage scale plus a 4.3% cost of living increase. City employees with more than four years of service, who have topped out on the wage scale will only get the 4.3% cost of living increase.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $949,000. Specific projects are as follows: Financial Administration- $7,500 including $5,000 for a computer upgrade and $2,500 unspecified; Parks and Recreation- $25,000 unspecified; Public Works/Buildings and Grounds- $15,000 unspecified; City Hall Building Alteration per ADA- $10,000 including $5,000 for handicapped rehabilitation and $5,000 unspecified; Fire Protection- $10,000 unspecified; Street Department- $40,000 including $10,000 for downtown beautification and $30,000 unspecified; Police Department- $14,000 unspecified; Swimming Pool- $10,000 for capital repairs; Airport- $810,000 unspecified (grant funds); Animal Shelter- $5,000 unspecified; Sanitation Fund- $5,000 and Drug Fund- $5,000 unspecified.

Proposed water and sewer fund Fixed Asset Additions: 2 trucks- $10,000; an update of sewer plant equipment- $40,000; an update of the water plant and engineering fees- $300,000; a sewer rehabilitation camera-$20,000. Debt repayment-principal: bonds- $210,000

Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

Second and final reading action will follow a public hearing at the meeting on Monday, June 16 at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Wreath Laid to Commemorate Confederate Memorial Day

June 2, 2008

Wreath Laid to Commemorate Confederate Memorial Day

June third is Confederate Memorial Day in Tennessee, a "special day of observance" as declared in the Tennessee Code Annotated and as proclaimed by Gov. Bredesen. To honor the patriotic troops who served the Confederacy with honor and distinction, the Savage-Goodner Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans in DeKalb County has placed wreaths to mark the occasion at the Confederate monument on the south side of the DeKalb County Courthouse, the grave of the Unknown Confederate Soldier in the Smithville Town Cemetery, and at the John Hunt Morgan Confederate Monument on the public square in Alexandria.

The designation of June third as Confederate Memorial Day stems from that date being the birthday of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States of America. This year holds special significance as it marks the 200th anniversary of the distinguished statesman's birth. Events are being held all over the South in recognition of one of the truly great political servants of his generation.

Most people do not know about the greatness of the man who would ascend to the Confederacy's highest office. For example, American history books do not tell of Jim Limber, a young mulatto slave boy whom Davis' wife, Varina, rescued from an abusive slave owner. The Davises informally adopted young Jim, who took the Davis family name. He resided with the family until the end of the War between the States when Union soldiers forcibly took Jim away. The Davises spent much of the rest of their lives trying to locate their adopted son, but what happened to him remains a mystery. Such is the "true" history of the South that is almost always left out of the history books.

Suspect in Hit and Run Forced off the Road during Pursuit after Sideswiping Deputy's Patrol Car

June 1, 2008
Dwayne Page

A Smithville man, allegedly involved in a hit and run, was arrested Saturday night after he sideswiped a patrol car while trying to get away in his car and then had to be forced off the road by the officer in pursuit.

49 year old Robert "Bobby" Turner of Smithville is charged with a second offense of DUI, leaving the scene of an accident with property damage, evading arrest, and reckless endangerment. Total bond was set at $21,500 and his court date is June 19th. Turner also received a
citation for violation of the implied consent law.

A warrants check on Turner also revealed that he was wanted on outstanding charges in Conway, South Carolina for a failure to appear on a 2nd degree burglary charge. The Sheriff's Department will also be seeking a Fugitive from Justice warrant here in DeKalb County.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says DeKalb County Central Dispatch, at 5:28 p.m. Saturday, received a call
about a hit and run driver at the intersection of Dry Creek Road and Game Ridge Road, Smithville. The caller stated that someone had hit their vehicle and a male subject who was driving, gave the caller an insurance card and then fled the scene. A county deputy, Roger Whitehead, spotted the hit and run vehicle at the intersection of Short Mountain Road and Whorton Springs Road. Deputy Whitehead was able to get the vehicle stopped and as he
approached the car, Officer Whitehead noticed the driver of the vehicle, Robert "Bobby" Turner, appeared to be under the influence. Deputy Whitehead asked Turner to turn the engine
off but Turner cursed at him. In an attempt to turn the vehicle off before Turner could drive off, Officer Whitehead reached in the vehicle but Turner said he was leaving and pulled off. Officer Whitehead then returned to his car in an attempt to pull Turner over again.

Trooper Shannon Brinkley, who investigated the sideswiping incident, said Officer Whitehead got in pursuit and tried to pass Turner's car on Whorton Springs Road to get him stopped, but Turner intentionally sideswiped Whitehead's patrol car. According to Trooper Brinkley, Officer Whitehead, in order to stop Turner and in the interest of public safety, used his patrol car to force Turner's vehicle off the road. Turner's car went through a wire fence and stopped in a field off the road. Turner was taken into custody. Trooper Brinkley said Officer Whitehead did what he had to do under the circumstances. No one was injured.

33 year old Misty Lee Felton of Young Ridge Road, Smithville was charged Tuesday with a first offense of driving while intoxicated. Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to an automobile accident near Felton's residence. Officers administered field sobriety tasks which she failed. Bond for Felton was set at $1,500 and she will appear in court on June 12th.

36 year old Don Diamond Groshon of Cookeville Highway was extradited Wednesday on a sealed indictment from the April Grand Jury. Sheriff Ray says Groshon was indicted on a charge of hindering secured creditors over $10,000.00. Groshon was stopped in Stephens County, Georgia for a traffic violation and upon a warrants check by that Department; he was arrested on the DeKalb County charge. Groshon's bond was set at $10,000.00 and his court date is June 6th.

43 year old Joseph John Muse of Short Mountain Highway was arrested Thursday for a second offense of driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license. Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to a domestic call on Highway 70 East. While officers were enroute, the complainant advised that the individuals had left and provided a description of the vehicle. Upon a stop of the vehicle, Muse was found to be intoxicated and had a suspended driver's license. Muse was also written a citation for violation of the implied consent law after he refused an alcohol/blood test. Bond for Muse was set at $4,000 and his court date is June 19th.

Sheriff Ray says deputies also noticed in Muses' vehicle a lot of new craftsman tool. A
county detective was then contacted. Detectives learned that Muse and a female went to the Sears store in Warren County and wrote several large checks for 3 refrigerators, 3 air conditioners, 2 television sets, 3 tool boxes, a zero turn lawn mower, and a large amount of hand tools.

Local detectives were able to recover most of the items in DeKalb County. Warren County Detectives will be seeking other charges there.

Meanwhile, on Saturday 45 year old Brain Scott Cannon of Peeled Chestnut Road, Sparta was
arrested for a third offense of driving under the influence. Deputies responded to an automobile accident on Wright Bend Road and found Cannon to be under the influence. Cannon submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Cannon was arrested and bond was set at $4,500. He will be in court June 12th

Three Sentenced on Drug Charges in DeKalb County Criminal Court

May 30, 2008
Dwayne Page

Three people were sentenced by Judge Leon Burns, Jr. on drug charges in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday.

33 year old James H. Patton IV pleaded guilty to sale of a schedule II controlled substance and received a five year sentence, all suspended to department of corrections probation except for 30 days on weekends with one year of probation to be supervised by community corrections. Patton was fined $2,000 and must make restitution of $260 to the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. He must also perform 100 hours of community service work.

20 year old Frank Hart pleaded guilty to simple possession of a schedule VI controlled substance and received a suspended sentence of 11 months and 29 days to be served on supervised probation. He was fined $250 and must perform 25 hours of community service work.

47 year old Jerry Lee Price pleaded guilty to facilitation to deliver a schedule III and IV controlled substance and received a two year sentence on TDOC probation in each case to run concurrently. He was fined $2,000 and he must perform 100 hours of community service work.

Eight People Involved In Three Vehicle Wreck Near Hurricane Bridge

May 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

Eight people were involved in a three vehicle wreck Monday night around 7:40 p.m. on Highway 56 north near Hurricane Bridge, including an off duty Smithville Police Officer, who was in his personal vehicle.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 39 year old Julie Ann Rogers of Murfreesboro was driving south in a 2005 Jeep Liberty when she failed to negotiate a curve, slid across the road, and struck a northbound 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix head-on, driven by 26 year old Travis K. Bryant of Algood, an off duty Smithville Police Officer. Meanwhile, after the initial crash, a 2000 Chevy Tracker, driven by 19 year old Jacob Kyle Walker of Cookeville, rear-ended Bryant's car.

Rogers and her son and daughter, 9 year old Phillip Hall and 13 month old Alana Hall were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. The baby, who was in a child safety seat, was not hurt. The boy suffered burns to his face when the air bag in front of him deployed. Mrs. Rogers was also injured. They were treated and released from the hospital.

Bryant and a passenger of his car, 21 year old Darla Emberton of Smithville were taken by DeKalb EMS to Cookeville Regional Hospital.

Walker and passengers of his truck, 21 year old Joshua Benton Ragland and 20 year old Grant Matheny Cooper all of Cookeville were not injured.

Trooper Jennings says Rogers was charged with failure to maintain the proper lane of travel and violation of the financial responsibility law.

Walker was charged with violation of the registration law, violation of the financial responsibility law, a drivers license violation, and consumption of alcohol under age 21.

Cooper was also charged with consumption of alcohol under age 21.

SUV Goes Over Embankment on Big Rock Road

May 27, 2008
Dwayne Page

Click image to enlarge.

Four people were injured Monday afternoon around 4:45 p.m. when the 1997 Ford Explorer they were in went off Big Rock Road and over a steep embankment.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 43 year old David Spencer Vaughn of 714 South College Street was driving north in the Ford Explorer, going too fast, and failed to properly negotiate a curve. The SUV went off the road to the left, but Vaughn overcorrected, causing the vehicle to go back across the road and overturn. The SUV went off the right side of the road and rolled approximately 150 to 200 feet down an embankment, before coming to rest upright on it's wheels in the hollow below.

42 year old Michelle Paiva-Nunez, her 14 year old son, Keith Clifford Lafreniere II, and 43 year old Ellis Dywane Mullins, all of 715 Long Street, were passengers of the Ford Explorer.

According to Trooper Jennings, Vaughn, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected as the SUV began to overturn. The passengers were restrained.

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Extrication Team and DeKalb County Rescue Squad were on the scene along with DeKalb EMS.

Firefighters had to pry open one of the doors to the vehicle to get to Paiva-Nunez, who was trapped.

Because of the steep climb back up the hill to the road, a basket and rope were used to carry Paiva-Nunez. The other two, Mullins and Lafreniere, apparently made it back up under their own power.

All except Vaughn were transported from the scene by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. Vaughn initially refused treatment and was taken to the DeKalb County Jail, where he was charged with driving under the influence, felony reckless endangerment, violation of the implied consent law, not wearing a seatbelt, and violation of the financial responsibility law. His bond is $12,500. Vaughn was later released and taken to a Nashville hospital for treatment, after complaining of pains.

The crash was investigated by Troopers Dewaine Jennings and Brian Raymond of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Meanwhile, a 24 year old man was injured in another wreck Monday night around 9:45 p.m. at a different location on Big Rock Road.

Trooper Todd Logan of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Brandon Taylor of Smithville was driving a 2003 Chevy Silverado pickup truck south when he went off the road.

According to Trooper Logan, Taylor claims he was blinded by the bright lights from an oncoming vehicle as he came around a curve, causing him to go off the road and some 20 feet off an embankment.

Taylor was taken to DeKalb Community Hospital where he was treated and released.

Memorial Day Program Features Remarks by WW II P.O.W.

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

The American Legion Post # 122 and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7623 hosted a Memorial Day Celebration Monday at the courthouse.

Joe Goodwin, the guest speaker, gave an emotional account of his horrifying experiences as a Prisoner of War in Germany during World War II. Goodwin, a native of White County, has been a resident of Smithville since 1958 and is believed to be the only surviving DeKalb County World War II Prisoner of War.

Louise Brown read an inspiring poem she had written about the "Grand Ole Flag" and patriotic and inspirational music was performed by Susan Hinton and the gospel group, "For the Lord".

At the conclusion of the program a wreath was placed at the veterans memorial monument on the south side of the courthouse as Colton Rhody played taps on his trumpet.

County Firefighters Contain Kitchen Fire at Webb Lane Trailer Home

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded to a kitchen fire Sunday night at the trailer home of Mark Brock at 711 Webb Lane.

Firefighters say they were called to the scene at 6:51 p.m. The Brock family rents the trailer from the owner, Jim and Lois Davis.

Members of the Short Mountain Highway, Keltonburg, Belk, and Blue Springs stations and Tanker truck #1 quickly arrived and were able to contain the fire to the stove and hood area of the kitchen without any other structural damage to the residence.

Brock suffered a second degree burn on his hand as he removed a skillet from the stove. He was treated on the scene by DeKalb EMS.

Sheriff's Department Makes Two Arrests in Burglary and Theft at Sligo Marina

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

Officers of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department arrested two men Saturday after responding to a possible burglary in progress at Sligo Marina on Highway 70 east.

51 year old Roy Lyndell Layne of Henley Circle, Altamont is charged with burglary, aggravated burglary, theft under $500, attempted theft over $5,000, possession of burglary tools (screwdrivers, wire pliers, police scanner), resisting arrest, unlawful possession of a hand gun with the intent to go armed, and possession of a schedule IV drug (Soma). Total bond was set at $69,000.

The other man, 25 year old Tristan Layne of Layne Circle, Palmer, Tennessee is charged with burglary, theft of property under $500, and attempted theft of property over $5,000. Total bond is $20,000.

Both men will appear in court on the charges June 12th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says on Saturday deputies responded to a possible burglary in progress at Sligo Marina. The complainant was able to give a description of the vehicle and a description of the suspects. Upon arrival, officers saw one of the suspects, Tristan Layne, in the described vehicle and another man Roy Layne, who was behind another vehicle, take off running. The deputy chased Roy Layne to a guardrail, which was in the parking lot, and Layne raised a screwdriver that he was holding in an attempt to stab the deputy. The officer then struck Layne with his hand and was able to subdue him. Layne also had a pill in his pocket believed to be Soma.

Tristan Layne was taken into custody without incident.

After searching the suspect's vehicle, deputies found other items from another vehicle burglary at Sligo including a canvas bag containing a Freon gauge and hose kit. A loaded 40 caliber Keltec and a police scanner were also found in the vehicle.

Alexandria Police Arrest Man and Wife in Burglary Investigation

May 26, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Alexandria Police Department has arrested a man and his wife in a recent burglary investigation.

Alexandria Police Chief Mark Collins says that on Sunday, May 25th , Sergeant Chris Russell arrested 34 year old John Charles Deck Jr. and his wife 31 year old Crystal Deck for Burglary and Theft of property over $10,000 after an investigation revealed the two had allegedly broken into a storage unit at Big Rock Storage on Nashville Highway in Alexandria.

Sergeant Russell responded to a complaint that the two were trying to sell the stolen goods to a family member of the owner of the property who recognized the items and called police. The two were found to have some of the stolen items in their possession in the trunk of a car.

The investigation revealed that the two had broken into the storage unit on two different occasions on May 24th and May 25th and carried the items to several locations and sold or attempted to sell them. Their court date is June 19th and total bond for each is $75,000. The investigation is still ongoing and more arrests are expected. Offficer Rejena Parker assisted in the case.


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