Local News Articles

Two Cabins Lost in Saturday Fires

February 10, 2008

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to a reported structure fire around 5:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon in a remote area of the county off of Adamson Branch Road in Liberty.

Two cabins, belonging to Walter J. Gordon of Florida, were destroyed but firefighters managed to keep the blaze from reaching three other structures nearby also belonging to Gordon including another cabin, a storage outbuilding, and a three bay garage.

Chief Donny Green says that although the Liberty, Temperance Hall, and DeKalb County Fire Department Main Station responded with pumpers, firefighters could not get equipment to the scene due to the poor access drive that led approximately one mile through a wooded area to the location where not only one, but two cabins were fully involved and threatening three more structures nearby. The fire had also spread into the wooded areas on each side of the steep ridge where the structures were located.

Green says firefighters were able to gain access with the department's brush truck and called for mutual aid assistance from Cannon County's Short Mountain and Eastside Fire Departments who responded with 4 X 4 brush trucks.

Although the two fully involved cabins were totally lost, Green says firefighters did manage to prevent the other three structures from becoming involved. The DeKalb County Fire Department's Wildland Task Force also worked in coordination with the Tennessee Division of Forestry to contain and extinguish the fire.

Chief Green says that in spite of the problem of having very poor access for firefighters and equipment, the department did a great job, working with Tennessee Division of Forestry and Cannon County mutual aid departments, in minimizing the additional potential losses to the other threatened structures and the many acres of woodland that became involved. He says the department located the owner, Walter J. Gordon, who uses this property as a secondary home and has his primary residence in Florida. No one was at the premises at the time of the incident and no one was injured.

Smithville Police Arrest Man for DUI and Simple Possession

February 9, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police recently arrested a man for impaired driving and found him with an unlabeled prescription bottle containing pills believed to be Xanax.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew says Officer Matt Holmes arrested Steve Hale and charged him with a second offense of driving under the influence and simple possession of a schedule IV controlled substance.

According to Lieutenant Leffew, Officer Holmes responded to Mapco Express to investigate a complaint of a possible impaired driver. Upon arrival, he found a vehicle matching the description and saw the man slumped over the steering wheel. As the officer approached the vehicle, the man sat up and began attempting to place the keys into the ignition, but was unable to do so. Upon speaking to Hale, the officer observed that the man's speech was very slurred and he appeared to be disoriented.

The officer asked Hale to step out of the vehicle and he was asked to perform sobriety tasks. He performed very poorly on all tasks and was arrested for DUI. Upon a pat down of his person, the officer found a pill bottle on Hale containing seventeen and a half small blue pills believed to be Xanax.

Forty One Students to Compete in County Spelling Bee

February 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

A total of forty one students will be competing during the Fifth Annual DeKalb County Spelling Bee Friday night, February 15th at 6:30 p.m. at DeKalb County High School.

WJLE plans LIVE coverage

Students from DeKalb Middle School, DeKalb West School, and Northside Elementary School recently competed at the school level to become eligible for the county competition.

Along with students from thirty nine other counties, the first and second place winners in the DeKalb County Spelling Bee will compete in the Tennessean Regional Spelling Bee on March 7th at the Massey Performing Arts Center at Belmont University in Nashville.

The winner of the Regional Spelling Bee will compete in the Scripps Howard National Spelling Bee in Washington D.C. May 25th through May 31st with all expenses paid by the Tennessean Newspaper.

The purpose of the County Wide Spelling Bee is to help students improve spelling skills, increase vocabularies, learn concepts, and develop correct English usage that will help them all their lives.

Participants in this year's County Wide Spelling Bee are:

Northside Elementary School:

Fourth Grade- Chase Bryant, Ashli Chew, Andrew Cooper, and Caitlin Turner

Fifth Grade- Issac Beck, Brandon Chapman, Haley Davis, Lenzi Dickens, Ashland Dillon, Corey Ferrell, Kelsey Hedge, Justin Johnson, Brandon Leiser, Jeffery Rigsby, Makalee Ruch, Emilee Stephens, and Jacob Washer

DeKalb Middle School:

Sixth Grade- Emily Snow

Seventh Grade- Jessica Acuna, Jacob Parsley, and Martilia Tallent

Eighth Grade- Jesse James, Kallie Mitchell, Kayla Matthews, Destiny Thomas, and Riley Young

DeKalb West School:

Fourth Grade- Morgan Vickers

Fifth Grade- Leah Burchfield, Cason Oakley, Zachary Roberts, and Lydia Trail

Sixth Grade- Courtney Avera, Sarah Hunt, Paige Lohorn, McKenzie Poteete, and Crystal Vickers

Seventh Grade- Casey Alderman, Taylor Leach, and Ashley O'Conner

Eighth Grade-Dylan Freeney and Rachel Goodman

Smithville Police Confiscate $600 Brick of Marijuana and Make One Arrest

February 8, 2008
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police Officers, acting on a complaint after midnight Thursday morning, arrested a 21 year old man on a drug charge after finding a brick of marijuana on him, with an estimated street value of more than $600.

Lieutenant Steven Leffew says Officers Brad Tatrow and Randy King charged Timmy Wayne Tomlinson with sale and delivery of a schedule VI controlled substance (marijuana) for resale. His bond is set at $5,000 and he will be in General Sessions Court on February 28th.

According to Lieutenant Leffew, the officers stopped a vehicle on Short Mountain Highway for excessive speed and unnecessary noise. Inside the vehicle were two females who told the officers that the reason they were speeding was to get away from two men who tried to force them into their vehicle at Mapco Express. The officers checked out their story and confirmed with the manager of Mapco that two men had been causing trouble there, but that they had gone across the street to the Hardees parking lot.

Officers Tatrow and King found both Tomlinson and Joshua Gammons in a truck at Hardees. According to Lieutenant Leffew, Tomlinson got out of the vehicle and tried to throw something away. The officers advised Tomlinson of the complaints that had been made and later reported that he seemed very nervous and had bloodshot eyes.

Upon further investigation, the officers asked for and received consent to search and found several marijuana shakings (crumbs) in the vehicle. Both Tomlinson and Gammons denied having any drugs on them, but after the Smithville K-9 unit was brought to the scene, Tomlinson produced a large brick of marijuana from one of the boots he was wearing. The marijuana was wrapped in a sandwich bag. The officers also found a large box of sandwich bags in the glove box of the truck.

Lieutenant Leffew says the brick of marijuana weighed 4.3 ounces and the estimated street value is approximately $150 per ounce, which would make this brick worth more than $600.

Tomlinson was taken into custody and charged in the case. No drugs were found on Gammons and he was not charged.

Banks Wins Democratic Nomination for Property Assessor

February 5, 2008
Dwayne Page

Incumbent DeKalb County Property Assessor, Timothy "Fud" Banks, won the Democratic nomination Tuesday easily beating both challengers, Roy Merriman and Willie Thomas.

Banks received a total of 1,922 votes (66.2%) and won 15 out of 16 precincts along with a majority of the early votes and absentees. Merriman carried only one precinct (Rock Castle) and finished second with 625 votes (21.5%) while Thomas placed third with 356 votes(12.2%).

A total of 4,507 people voted in the Primaries for a turnout of 35.04% including 3,206 on election day, 1,294 early voters and absentees, and seven provisional voters.

The following is a break down of the votes by precinct:

Alexandria: Banks- 86, Merriman 47, and Thomas 35

Belk: Banks- 64, Merriman 26, Thomas 14

Blue Springs: Banks- 78, Merriman 25, and Thomas 9

Cherry Hill: Banks- 12, Merriman 7, Thomas 2

Church of Christ Annex: Banks- 155, Merriman 60, Thomas 25

Courthouse: Banks- 156, Merriman 48, Thomas 28

Dowelltown: Banks- 52, Merriman 22, Thomas 9

Edgar Evins State Park: Banks- 6, Merriman 2, Thomas 1

Elementary School: Banks- 163, Merriman 59, Thomas 16

Johnson's Chapel: Banks- 39, Merriman 10, Thomas 8

Keltonburg: Banks- 90, Merriman 31, Thomas 9

Liberty: Banks- 53, Merriman 25, Thomas 15

Middle School: Banks- 155, Merriman 41, Thomas 33

Rock Castle: Merriman- 18, Banks 8, Thomas 5

Snow Hill: Banks- 72, Merriman 20, Thomas 10

Temperance Hall: Banks- 45, Thomas 19, Merriman 13

Absentee (paper ballots): Banks- 30, Thomas 12, Merriman 2

Early Voting: Banks- 658, Merriman 169, Thomas 106

Banks will face Republican nominee, John David Foutch, and Independent, Sandy C. Brown, in the August General Election.

Meanwhile, Johnny King defeated Mary Ann Thomason in the seventh district constable race King received 178 votes (58.9%) to Thomason's 124 votes (41.1%). King had 102 votes at the Church of Christ Annex and 70 early votes and 6 absentees. Thomason collected 66 votes at the Annex and 54 early votes and 4 absentees.

The other four constable candidates were unopposed. Their complimentary vote totals are as follows:Third District Incumbent Wayne Vanderpool- 230 votes; Fourth District Nominee Paul Cantrell- 268; Fifth District Incumbent Mark Milam- 289; and Sixth District Nominee Cantrell Jones- 310

In the Presidential Preference Primary, Hillary Clinton carried DeKalb County by a wide margin over Barack Obama on the Democratic side, while Mike Huckabee edged out fellow candidates, John McCain and Mitt Romney, among DeKalb County Republican voters. Clinton received 2,410 votes in DeKalb County to Obama's 347. Other Democratic candidates on the ballot and their totals include John Edwards 272, Bill Richardson 10, Joe Biden 7, Dennis Kucinich 6, Mike Gravel 4, Chris Dodd 1 and 31 Uncommitted.

Clinton easily carried all sixteen precincts in DeKalb County and had a majority of the early votes and absentees.

Huckabee garnered 573 votes in the Republican primary, McCain had 399, while Romney received 267 DeKalb County votes. Other GOP candidates and their vote totals include Ron Paul 63, Fred Thompson 30, Rudy Giuliani 7, Duncan Hunter 4, Alan Keyes 1, and 4 Uncommitted.

Huckabee carried 13 of 16 precincts and tied Romney with 10 votes each at Cherry Hill. Romney and McCain tied with 7 votes each to carry Edgar Evins State Park and they tied with 21 votes each to carry Rock Castle. Huckabee also had more early votes than his opponents.

Be sure to check out precinct-by-precinct numbers on our special election page. Find the "Election Night Results" link on the left side of our homepage for the breakdown.

Monday Evening Wreck Causes Power Outage

February 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

Three Hispanic men, involved in traffic accidents Monday evening on Vaughn Lane, escaped injury but were cited for not having a drivers license and for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance)

Trooper Todd Logan of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says 51 year old Pedro Candelario of McMinnville was driving west in a 1995 Chevy pickup truck when he went off the left side of the road and struck a utility pole as a westbound Honda Accord, driven by 24 year old Eleazar Perez of Smithville, was passing him.

Perez then rear-ended a Ford Taurus, driven by 21 year old Virgilio Mendoza of McMinnville, who had stopped in the road after the Candelario crash.

Again, no one was injured in the accidents but several customers of Caney Fork Electric Cooperative, including WJLE, were without power for about three hours.

In addition to being cited for no drivers license and no insurance, Perez was also cited for improper passing and failing to exercise due care.

All three men are reportedly employees of Zelenka Nursery.

City Aldermen Say No to Beer Sales on Sundays and Christmas Day

February 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night voted unanimously to just say no to city beer sales on Sunday's and Christmas Day.

The Smithville Beer Board, last month, voted to recommend that the city council consider allowing stores with beer permits to sell on Sunday's from one until six p.m. and all day on Christmas Day.

On Monday night, this was the first issue on the agenda and when it was brought up for discussion, Alderman Tonya Sullivan made a motion to leave the beer ordinance as it is and take no action. Alderman Steve White seconded the motion. Aldermen Cecil Burger, Willie Thomas, and Jerry Hutchins Sr. joined Sullivan and White in making the vote unanimous.

Ronnie Dale of the Budweiser Company and K.C. Johnson of the Miller Company both of Cookeville came before the beer board last month to request that Sunday beer sales be considered and they provided some statistics on tax revenue in cities and counties that do and don't permit Sunday sales.

Dale and Johnson claim that Smithville could stand to gain as much as $60,745 in additional tax revenue per year from Sunday beer sales.

Concerned citizen Tim Ferguson Monday night thanked the aldermen for rejecting the beer board's recommendation. "We do appreciate it. To some folks $60,000 is a lot of money, but that's not anything compared to moma's and daddies having to bury their children because somebody hit them because of drinking or the fact that they got it. It's not going to keep it out of people's hands. I'm not naive about the things that go on. But we need to keep something sacred around here and Smithville and DeKalb County doesn't need that. We have something special in Smithville and if we keep working it will get better but we don't need to let stuff come in and rob it."

In other business, the board adopted an ordinance on first reading to change the zoning classification of property at the intersection of Bryant and Murphy Streets with Bright Hill Road from R-2 Medium Density Residential to B-2 General Business. This is the property of the First Assembly of God. Second and final reading action will be scheduled following a public hearing at the next meeting on February 18th at 7:00 p.m.

The members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department met on January 7th for the purpose of electing officers. As per the charter, the city council has to approved the selection of officers and firefighters.

Members of the department as as follows: Chief Charlie Parker, Assistant Chief Robert Eller, Deputy Chief Hoyte Hale, Captain Jeff Wright, Lieutenants Danny Poss, John Poss, and Donnie Cantrell, and Firefighters Anthony Wright, William Brown, Kevin Adcock, Davey Ferrell, Charles Young, Wallace Caldwell, Dusty Johnson, Gary Johnson, James R. Hunt, Stephanie Brown, Stephanie Wright, Joseph Hall, and Photographer Greg Bess.

The aldermen voted unanimously Monday night to approve the list of firefighters and officers.

The city board also voted unanimously to prepare an ordinance to rename Calhoun Street to Bill Bing Drive. Mayor Taft Hendrixson says Bing's daughter, Betty Smith, made the request for the street to be renamed in memory of her father who once owned much of the property in that area for many years. He says Ms Smith and her daughter are the only two individuals who have addresses on Calhoun Street. First reading action will be scheduled at the next meeting on February 18th.

Man Accused of Threatening Officers Charged in Domestic Assault Case

February 4, 2008
Dwayne Page

A 33 year old man, accused of abusing his wife and threatening law enforcement officers, was arrested Monday by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Mark Allen Brewington of Ponder Lane, Smithville is charged with Domestic Assault, two counts of Aggravated Assault on an Officer, resisting arrest, and unlawful possession of a weapon with the intent to go armed. He is under a $37,500 bond and his court date is February 14th.

Sheriff Ray says deputies responded Monday to a domestic call from a battered woman on Ponder Lane While the officers were enroute, Central Dispatch advised them that Brewington, the alleged abuser, was on the phone with them and warned that he would spray the deputies with bullets when they arrived. The officers then contacted Sheriff Ray about the incident.

Deputies found Brewington's wife in her vehicle at the end of the road leaving the residence. After interviewing her and learning that Brewington has had extensive military training and access to various weapons in his home, Sheriff Ray then contacted the Tennessee Highway Patrol Tactical Unit for assistance.

While waiting on the THP Special Unit to arrive, officers were positioned at locations around the residence to keep a watch on the house in case Brewington tried to leave his residence. After a short wait, Brewington came out of the home and got into a vehicle in his driveway. Brewington, in an attempt to leave the residence, aimed his vehicle at two deputies in an attempt to flee the scene. Officers moved in on Brewington and took him into custody. Officers found a loaded 9mm Ruger in Brewington's vehicle and two more guns in his home.

Meanwhile, in s separate case, 31 year old Bryan Douglas Brannon of Big Hurricane Road, Smithville was arrested Monday for DUI, Resisting Arrest, and Possession of a Schedule III drug (Hydocodone) for resale.

Sheriff Ray says deputies responded to a call on King Ridge Road, Dowelltown about a suspicious vehicle parked in someone's driveway. Upon arrival, deputies found Brannon passed out behind the wheel of his vehicle, the motor running, and Brannon's foot was on the brake. After deputies awakened Brannon, he refused to get out so the officers removed Brannon from the vehicle. They also found a pill bottle containing 15 yellow pills believed to be Hydrocodone.

Brannon's bond was set at $16,500 and his court date is February 21st.

In another case, 20 year old Dallas Edward Hannah of Four Seasons Road Smithville was arrested Saturday after deputies were summoned to DeKalb Market on Highway 70.

Officers found Hannah passed out under the wheel of his vehicle at one of the gas pumps with the motor running. Hannah was awakened by the deputies and found to be intoxicated. He was placed under arrest for DUI. Upon a search of his person, deputies found three green pills believed to be Valium and two blue pills believed to be Hydrocodone. The pills were in a cellophane wrapper in Hannah's pocket. Hannah's bond was set at $4,500 and his court date is February 21st.

Meanwhile, on Sunday deputies arrested 26 year old Danny Ray Murphy of Shady Drive Smithville for Reckless Endangerment and DUI. Murphy was involved in a one vehicle accident on Highway 70 West where a deputy witnessed Murphy run his vehicle into a building belonging to DeKalb Market. Murphy also had a eight year old child with him. Bond was set at $5,000 and his court date is February 22nd.

DeKalb Farm Bureau & DeKalb County 4-H Commemorates Food Check-Out Week

February 3, 2008

Food in America is affordable. In fact, between January 1 and February 3, 2008, the average American will have earned enough disposable income to pay for his or her food supply for the entire year, according to the DeKalb County Farm Bureau. As a result, the DeKalb County Farm Bureau and DeKalb County 4-H is celebrating February 3 - Feb. 9, 2008, as Food Check-Out Week.

The latest statistics compiled by the Agriculture Department’s (USDA’s) Economic Research Service indicate American families and individuals currently spend, on average, just 9.5 percent of their disposable personal income for food.

Applying the current statistic to the calendar year, it means the average household will have earned enough disposable income -- that portion of income available for spending or saving -- to pay for its annual food supply in just five weeks.

Not only is America’s food supply the world’s safest, but it’s also the most affordable. Food Check-Out Week tracks the amount of income needed by Americans to purchase food on an annual basis. In comparison to Food Check-Out Week, most Americans worked until mid-April to pay their taxes in 2007, according to The Tax Foundation. The high-quality, affordable food we enjoy is a product of our successful food production and distribution system, as well as America’s farmers retaining access to effective and affordable crop protection tools.
This week should hold meaning for most Americans. As food producers, we are concerned that some Americans cannot afford to buy the food they need, but we are proud of the role Tennessee farmers play in making our food supply more affordable for all.

DeKalb County Farm Bureau personnel and DeKalb County 4-Her’s will be in some of the local stores distributing information on these issues on February 5, 2008 from 3:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

Kevin Adcock Named Outstanding Smithville Firefighter of the Year

February 2, 2008
Dwayne Page

The Most Outstanding Smithville Firefighter of the Year is Kevin Adcock.

Adcock received special recognition for this honor during an awards dinner held Friday night for members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department. The dinner was held at the Christian Fellowship Center of the Smithville First United Methodist Church.

Robert Eller, a member of the department for 62 years, was awarded for having attended the most calls during 2007.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker says both Adcock and Eller are most deserving of these special honors. "We recognized Mr. Eller for most calls attended this past year which includes total calls, training, workings, meetings, etc. He responded to the most calls out of all the firemen for everything, about 172 calls. So we recognized him for that."

"The Outstanding Firefighter of the Year is voted on by the other firemen. Each firefighter voted for a fellow firemen that he or she thought did an outstanding or exceptional job. That's really tough because they (firefighters) think everybody does a good job so it's kind of hard to get that one (award). Kevin Adcock does a fantastic job. He does all of our web site and computer work and he does all of our reporting to the state. He puts in many, many hours other than actual fire calls just keeping up with stuff so he is well deserving of that award."

All members of the department were recognized for their years of service including;

Joseph Hall and Stephanee Wright- one year; Stephanie Brown, Randall Hunt, Gary Johnson, and Dustin Johnson- two years; Wallace Caldwell-three years; Charles Young-seven years; Davey Ferrell and Kevin Adcock-eight years; Wink Brown-nine years; Greg Bess-twelve years; Anthony Wright and John Poss- sixteen years; Jeff Wright and Hoyte Hale- twenty two years; Donnie Cantrell, Danny Poss, and Charles Parker- twenty seven years; and Robert Eller-sixty two years.

Chief Parker reflected on the accomplishments of the past year. "2007 was a good year for us. We are thankful that we had a year with no injuries. No firefighter was injured in any of the calls that we had and that's always a plus to not have any of those. Our number one thing is our fire hall project, which is well underway. They have just completed the first floor and now they are starting on the second floor of it. This has been a project that has been many years in coming and we owe a lot of gratitude to our current and former mayor and aldermen who have helped to get us where we are with it. The Smithville First United Methodist Church was a big asset to us. They had some fund raisers for us and helped us in purchasing some dress blue uniforms so all of our firefighters from the officers all the way down to the rookies now have dress blue uniforms. We got to wear them in the Christmas parade. It was the first time we all got to wear them. Those are for special occasions. We're excited to have the uniforms which help make us look more professional."


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