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DeKalb County Fire Department Named to Elite List

July 18, 2009
Donny Green

For the second consecutive year, DeKalb County Fire Department has been named, by the Tennessee Fire and Codes Academy (TFACA), as one of the Elite Club members that attained over 1,000 student contact training hours. For FY 2008-09, there are 42 of the state’s approximately 700 fire departments that met the requirements to join the “Elite Club” and DeKalb County Fire Department ranked # 28, with 1,288 student contact hours.

According to DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green, “the 1,288 hours only includes a portion of the larger amount of training hours that our firefighters have attended. We have specialized training courses, such as vehicle extrication/rescue, wild land firefighting, CPR, medical first responder, and monthly training drills, that our firefighters complete which accounts for over 3,000 department training hours annually.”

Chief Green says that he credits much of the department’s training program success to Asst. Chief Roy Merriman who coordinates and manages the training activities for the department’s 11 stations and 70 volunteer firefighters. “The fact that we are ranked # 28 on this list, which is mostly full-time paid fire departments, speaks volumes about our training program and the commitment our volunteer firefighters have; especially when you consider that 19 of the 27 departments ranked above DeKalb County Fire Department are full-time paid departments whose firefighters are actually on the clock when they are training. Our volunteer firefighters are doing their training on their own time, on nights and weekends when they are not at their paying jobs”, says Chief Green.

DeKalb County Fire Department continues to seek committed volunteers who are willing to serve their communities. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer firefighter, contact the department at 615-464-7176, or visit the department’s website at www.dekalbfire.com to submit an online application.

Smithville Police Make Arrests

July 18, 2009
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police recently charged two men with drug offenses after making a traffic stop.

33 year old Bobby Wayne Pinegar of 3650 McMinnville Highway, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule III and IV controlled substance. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court July 30th. 31 year old Andrew Wesley Wilbert of 2310 Vandergriff Hollow Road, Dowelltown is charged with possession of a schedule VI controlled substance. His bond is $1,000 and he will be in court July 30th.

Smithville K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was patrolling on East Broad Street on July 9th at approximately 10:00 p.m. when he witnessed a vehicle commit a traffic violation. Officer Tatrow stopped the vehicle and the driver gave him permission to search the automobile for weapons, alcohol, and narcotics. Pinegar was a passenger in the vehicle. He had on his person a cigarette pack containing twelve hydrocodone pills, a schedule III drug, and eleven xanax pills, a schedule IV drug. Wilbert, another passenger in the vehicle, had on his person a baggie containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

39 year old Tracey Lee Vashist of 622 Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with child abuse and neglect. Her bond is $5,000 and she will be in court July 23rd.

Smithville Police Officer Matt Holmes was dispatched to the residence of Vashist on July 11th at approximately 9:55 a.m. on a missing child call. The mother, Vashist, reported that she could not locate her four year old son and had last seen him about forty five minutes earlier. A five year old female was outside the residence unattended. The Smithville Fire Department was called in to assist in the search for the missing child. The Department of Children Services was also notified. The four year old boy was later located by Officer Holmes at the intersection of Fisher and Bryant Street. An investigation was conducted by Officer Holmes. The five year old female told the officer that after the boy left, she went inside the residence and awoke her mother to tell her the boy was gone. Other witnesses were interviewed. DCS removed the two children from the custody of Vashist. They were placed with the grandparents.

32 year old Stephanie L. Vanatta of 691 Snow Hill Road, Dowelltown is charged with two counts of passing a forged check at Food Lion. Her bond is $20,000. 37 year old Craig Anthony Hill of 8741 Holmes Creek Road, Smithville is charged with passing a forged check. His bond is $25,000.

Officers report that Penny Adams came to the Smithville Police Department on June 21st at approximately 9:35 a.m. to report her billfold and some checks were stolen. Adams was at a business in Smithville and while she was inside, these articles were taken from her vehicle. Adams gave the officer the name of a possible suspect she saw close to the vehicle while it was parked. Detective Jerry Hutchins conducted an investigation which revealed that two persons had passed forged checks on the Adams bank account. Vanatta was arrested on July 8th and charged with passing the two forged checks at Food Lion on the Adams bank account. Vanatta allegedly passed one forged check on June 22nd for $92.61 and the other on June 23rd for $110.15. Meanwhile, on June 23rd, police say Hill passed a forged check in the amount of $211 on the Adams account at DeKalb Community Bank in Smithville.

In an unrelated crime, Hill was also arrested for theft of property. Police say on July 8th, a man entered the BP service station at 736 South Congress Boulevard in Smithville. The man asked the clerk for cigarettes. The clerk placed the cigarettes on the counter. The man swiped a bogus credit card through the machine. When the clerk turned to the cash register, the man grabbed the cigarettes and ran out of the door. Detective Jerry Hutchins conducted an investigation and arrested Hill, charging him with the theft of the cigarettes. His bond is $5,000.

44 year old David Ray Redmond of 740 Walker Drive Smithville is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court July 23rd.

Smithville Police Officer Travis Bryant was dispatched to Highway 56 South on a possible impaired driver on July 19th. He was given a description of the vehicle and driver. Officer Bryant observed the suspect drive around behind Jewel's Market. Officer Bryant made contact with the driver. During the conversation, Officer Bryant noticed Redmond's speech to be very slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Redmond submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks.

Meanwhile, Smithville Police are asking for your help in solving other recent crimes.

Chief Jennings says Chad Hale, owner of Chad's Auto Sales in Smithville had four tires and wheels taken from a 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix parked on his car lot. The tires and wheels were stolen sometime between 6:00 p.m. on July 8th and 10:00 a.m. on July 9th. They are valued at $500.

Lynn Ferrell of 823 Dry Creek Road, Smithville had the following property taken from his business, Lynn's Auto Salvage sometime during the night of July 12th, two tie down straps, two radios, two tow chains, and a set of booster cables. The value of the property is approximately $500.

A CD player was taken from the automobile of Hector Cernantez Rivas of 1222 South College Street, Smithville sometime between July 7th and July 13th. The value of the CD player is $75.00

Chief Jennings is asking anyone with information on these thefts or other criminal activity to contact the Smithville Police Department at 615-597-8210. All information received will be kept confidential.

Police Working to Improve Public Relations

July 17, 2009
Dwayne Page

Members of the Smithville Police Department want the community to get to know them better, and according to at least one officer, the effort has paid off.

Chief Richard Jennings says Officer Nathan Estes recently came up with the idea of handing out police department stickers to children in the housing project, in a get acquainted campaign.

Officer Estes says children should not be afraid of the police. "What it consisted of is a particular officer going through the housing authority on foot patrol when we had time and handing out these stickers. Basically what this is doing, when we hand out these stickers, is we're interacting with the children and letting them know that they shouldn't be afraid of us."

According to Officer Estes, the effort has not only had a positive impact on the children, but their families have become more open in providing valuable information to the police. " I saw this as something positive and I originally started it for the children but it wound up going further than that, because we wound up getting a lot of information we needed for investigations for the police department, through the moms and dads, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, and grandfathers. We had two fugitive from justice people that I helped locate from the housing authority. There were two or three drug deals we got interested in while we were over there, things of that nature. But the main thing I wanted to prove with this was that the housing authority people and their kids are just as important to us as anybody else in the city or the county."

Officer Estes says he hopes to continue the campaign in other parts of the city. "Now that I'm back on nights, I'm going to start at a different place, such as Village Place subdivision, Morgan Avenue, and places like that while still keeping up the same streets such as Andrews and others where I have been going to let everyone know that just because we're the police does not mean we don't care about them or their kids. We're not in this just to take people to jail and write tickets. We're supposed to be a role model to the public and set an example for the public."

State GOP Chairman Visits with Local Republicans

July 17, 2009
Dwayne Page
DeKalb GOP Chairman Jennifer Winfree, State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver, and State GOP Chairman Chris Devaney

The Chairman of the Tennessee Republican Party was in Smithville Thursday night.

Chris Devaney met with members of the local party at the community room of city hall.

Devaney says he is excited about the 2010 elections and the opportunity Republicans have to win more public offices. "There's a lot of excitement across Tennessee, I see it in the tea parties that are going on. Six weeks after President Obama was elected we saw these tea parties pop up across the country and across Tennessee and I think it really signaled that people are concerned about the direction of our country. "

"Republicans in Tennessee have had success because they have stood on principled leadership and core Republican principles of individual freedom, low taxes, and personal responsibility and I think that is resonating with people in Tennessee and across the country. We are setting the example here in Tennessee of what can be done. We have majorities in the General Assembly. We're going to solidify those majorities in 2010. We're excited about the direction we're headed in this state."

"I think people are looking at the example of Terri Lynn Weaver, who is providing excellent leadership for this district. She was elected in 2008 and already she has become a leader in the General Assembly because she is standing up for principles. That's why Terri Lynn will be re-elected and that's why we're going to elect a Republican in (State Senator) Mae Beaver's seat."

Liberty Man Injured in Pickup Truck Crash

July 17, 2009
Dwayne Page
Carlos Nokes Pickup Truck Towed by JR Motors

An 18 year old Liberty man was seriously injured when his pickup truck crashed into a tree on Big Rock Road Thursday afternoon. Central Dispatch received the call at 4:41 p.m.

Carlos Dustin Nokes was airlifted from the scene by a Life Flight helicopter ambulance and flown to Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville.

Trooper Darrell Knowles of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Nokes was driving a 1986 Chevy S-10 south on Big Rock Road when he went off the right side of the road, overcorrected, continued south, and then went off the left side of the road. The pickup struck a ditch, went airborne, and then crashed nose down and top first into a tree. The truck then fell back and came to rest on it's wheels. Nokes was pinned inside the truck and had to be extricated by members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department's Rescue Team. Others on the scene were members of the Keltonburg and Short Mountain Highway Stations of the Fire Department, county deputies, and DeKalb EMS.

Meanwhile two people were transported by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital after a two vehicle wreck on Whorton Springs Road Thursday afternoon.

Trooper Knowles says 17 year old Kiesha M. Kunze of Smithville was east on Whorton Springs Road in a 2005 Toyota and 39 year old Benjamin D. Barlow of Smithville was traveling west in a 1996 Mazda pickup truck when they made contact in a curve.

Both Kunze and a passenger of her vehicle, 69 year old Marga Spruill of Smithville were transported to the hospital with minor injuries. Two others in the Kunze vehicle, Sandra Kunze and an eighteen month old child were not injured. Barlow was also uninjured.

Election Commission Seeks Extension in Filing Answer to Lawsuit

July 16, 2009
Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County Election Commission met Wednesday and voted to seek an extension in filing an answer to a Chancery Court lawsuit brought against them last month by the former administrator of elections Lisa Peterson.

The commission has thirty days to answer the lawsuit, but still does not have an attorney to handle the case, and the thirty days are up next week.

Peterson also filed a federal court lawsuit last week against three members of the commission and they have twenty days to answer that complaint.

The special meeting of the election commission Wednesday was supposed to be for the purpose of possibly hiring an attorney, but an issue has arisen which has forced a delay.

Walteen Parker, Chairman of the Election Commission, says the State Attorney General has rendered an opinion that members of election commissions and administrators are county employees, while previous judicial rulings stemming from a case in another county, have held that they are state employees.

Parker says the issue is who is to provide and pay for the defense, the county, through attorneys for the county's liability insurance carrier, or the state. "There are two lawsuits at stake and the reason we needed to meet tonight (Wednesday) is to determine where we're going with this as a commission."

"The Chancery Court lawsuit was sent to (County Attorney) Mr. (Hilton) Conger who did what he was supposed to do in contacting the County Mayor and contacting the insurance company and seeing where to go from here because the issue is, are the commission and the administrator of elections state employees, and that term is used very loosely, or county employees?. The (State) Attorney General's opinion was written that we are county (employees). A judge in Bradley County, I believe, issued an opinion that it's state (employees). Therefore there is an issue. Is it the county or the county's insurance carrier's responsibility to provide counsel and advisement or is it the (State) Attorney General's Office who is to provide counsel and advisement?"

"The insurance attorney has said that until this issue is resolved they are not going to take any kind of action which is reasonable. As it turns out, we don't know what to do about counsel until we get a judgement as to whether it's state or county. If it's considered a state issue, the Attorney General will provide counsel, if it's a county issue then we can go with the county insurance carrier and their attorney. The county attorney (Conger) is not responsible in this. He is not the one we would turn to, it would be the insurance carrier's attorney. Mr. Conger was here (tonight) to guide us in information that we needed. We can hire an attorney at our own choosing and that could be played out in the courts as to whether the state would reimburse this attorney or whether the county would so that is an option."

In the meantime, County Attorney Conger apparently will petition the Chancery Court on behalf of the election commission for an extension in filing the answer to the lawsuit in that court.

Parker says she is hopeful the issue is resolved by the time the election commission meets in regular session again on the first Thursday in August.

Meanwhile Parker says she wants to assure the public that the litigation in court will not distract the commission nor the staff in the office from discharging their duties.

School Board Authorizes Purchase of Portable Classrooms

July 14, 2009
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Board of Education Tuesday night approved executive action to purchase portable classrooms to meet needs at DeKalb West and DCHS.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says each portable contains two classrooms with a restroom. One of the portables will be set up at DeKalb West School for the third grade to help relieve overcrowding. The other portable will be set up in the area behind the high school and middle school primarily to meet needs of some students, who have previously been served by contracted services outside the county. "We're going to start providing those services here in the county to meet the needs of those students."

Willoughby, during an interview with WJLE earlier in the day Tuesday, said growth in the enrollment among the lower grades at DeKalb West has become a concern, particularly the third grade. "In K- 3rd grade, 20 students is all you can have per class and we're actually a little bit over our numbers in the third grade. After you get out of the third grade we're in good shape at the West School, then the numbers (we're allowed to have) go up to 25 per class. They go up to 30 as you get up to 6th, 7th, and 8th grades. But we're crowding that 20 every way in the world right now in the third grade."

Willoughby says a portable at the West School will "give us some relief there".

According to Willoughby, some parents, in recent years, have enrolled their children at the West School because it is more convenient for them, even though they probably should be going to other schools in the county. " For some parents who are going to work at Lebanon or other places (in the mornings), that's a convenient place for their students to go to school and in the afternoons the grandparents or someone else is picking them up. Under our board policies, students should go to school where their bus routes go, even if parents take them, but with permission they can go to a different school if the parents provide transportation, if it doesn't cause overcrowding. In the situation at the West School, we're probably going to have to look at that more closely because if it (overcrowding) continues, we'll have to hire more teachers for that (at West School) when we have room at other places (schools).

The cost of the portables is $56,795 per building, but Director Willoughby says the money to buy them was included in the budget. "When we did the budget, we had anticipated $72,000 (per portable) and of the $350,000 we put in capital outlay, $150,000 was meant to go for the purchase of the two portables."

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

Those employed for the 2009-2010 school year since June are as follows:

Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12. He will succeed Dr. Carol Hendrix in that position since she has retired.

Joe Cope, teacher at DCHS. He is also the new DCHS girls basketball coach

Amanda Mullinax, teacher at DeKalb West School

Todd Cantrell, teacher at DCHS

Tiffany Wheatley, transferred to a Smithville Elementary School CDC vacancy
Wendy Colvert, transferred to a SPED teacher position

In other business, the board voted to reccomend that Director Willoughby fill a health occupations teaching position from January until the end of the school year, so the person employed can qualify for health insurance benefits.

During the June meeting, at the request of Director Willoughby, the board voted to create a half time teaching position in health occupations at the high school in the proposed tentative budget for 2009-2010. Willoughby says the school system currently has a health occupations teacher but there is a need to expand the program. "In our health occupations (program), there has been an over abundance of requests for classes in the next school year." Willoughby says funds are available in the tentative budget for this positon.

The school board approved the 2009-2010 individual school budgets and fundraisers Tuesday night but Sixth District member, Bruce Parsley voted "no" because of his concern about young children selling products to help raise money for things that the school system should be providing. "My biggest thing is I don't think we need young kids, elementary aged kids, selling candies and magazines and stuff like that. It puts a big burden on five, six, and seven year old kids to keep up with that much money on a bus with high school kids. We just need to find another way besides having little kids out peddling candy and magazines."

Third District Board member Kenny Rhody says the board took steps a few years ago to limit the number of fundraisers that each group could have per year. "There's a whole lot less of it now than were was. It still seems extreme but there's so many different programs out there that these fundraisers benefit that I wasn't even aware of until we really got to reviewing it. It helps the kids in a lot of different ways that you just don't normally think about. I wish we could do something else."

First District member John David Foutch added " If you cut any of this out, you're going to have to cut some activities in the schools that the children are doing."

Director Willoughby. "We do not have money in the budget to make up the difference."

Second District member Charles Robinson:" Fundraisers teach children, in my opinion, to be a little bit more assertive in salesmanship. It's got some positive aspects to it."

Board member Parsley: "Nobody is sending their kid to the elementary school to learn how to be a salesman. There's nothing wrong with being a salesman. My father-in-law was a salesman for years, but that's not what people send their kids to school for, to learn how to sell. We just need to find a way to provide this money without having our kids out there peddling goods. I don't have a problem with clubs like high school groups, I'm talking about little kids selling stuff so that they've got enough of whatever in school. We need to provide that."

The board adopted three policy amendments on first reading including one that allows all full time employees one day paid absence per school year for the death of an immediate family member as defined in the policy, beginning with the 2009-2010 school year. Bereavement days are non-cumulative.

New language was inserted in the sick leave policy that allows full time support staff employees to use two of their earned/accumulated sick days per school year as personal days. No additional days will be earned. This actually took effect beginning with the 2008-09 school year.

Meanwhile, sealed bids are still being accepted for the sale of a new house, recently constructed by students in the DCHS Carpentry Class.

The original deadline for submitting sealed bids was Thursday, June 11th but no bids were received. The board, Tuesday night, for the second time voted to extend the deadline. Bidders have until next meeting date of Thursday, August 13th to submit a sealed bid.

The house, located at 140 Evergreen Lane, Smithville, has approximately 1,652 square feet of living area with an attached 528 square foot 2-car garage, master bedroom with master bath and walk-in closet, utility room with half bath, kitchen with eating area, and downstairs den area. The upstairs includes two bedrooms, sitting room, and full bath, 12 x 20 deck, 2 central heat and air gas units, gas hot water heater, 5' x 22' front porch, concrete driveway, hardwood flooring in the living room and den area, tile in the bathrooms and kitchen, and carpet in the bedrooms.

The minimum bid was $140,000, but the board voted Tuesday night to reduce the minimum bid to $135,000. Bids are to be mailed or delivered to the DeKalb County Board of Education,110 South Public Square, Smithville in a sealed envelope clearly marked as a "Bid" and will be received until 4:00 p.m. August 13th. The house can be viewed by appointment. Call the Board of Education to request a viewing at 615-597-4084.

The sealed bids will be opened at the next school board meeting at 7:00 p.m. on August 13th.

Victim of Severe Beating Dies at Erlanger Hospital

July 14, 2009
Dwayne Page
James P Vernon

A 24 year old man, the victim of a severe beating on a houseboat July 7th at Center Hill Lake, has died from his injuries at Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga.

Dead is David Joseph Clark of White County.

Meanwhile, the man arrested in the attack, 38 year old James P. Vernon of Green Hill Road, Rock Island, is now charged with first degree murder in the case. Vernon is currently in the DeKalb County Jail under a $750,000 bond. He made his first court appearance on Thursday, July 16th and will return to court on Thursday, August 13th.

The case was investigated by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. Authorities initially thought the incident occurred in White County, because it was in an area where DeKalb, White, and Warren County meet, but a GPS reading revealed it to be only a few feet inside DeKalb County.

The arrest warrant states that "On July 7th, law enforcement began an investigation regarding serious injuries to Clark, who had been discovered unconscious in a vehicle parked at Horseshoe Bend Marina. A subsequent investigation by Dan Friel of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and other law enforcement officers has determined that Clark had been severely beaten on the eve of July 7th on a houseboat on Center Hill Lake."

" Eye witnesses have provided information concerning the beating of Clark by Vernon on the houseboat. The beating was accomplished by hitting the victim repeatedly in the face and head with his fist and concluded with kicks to the victim's body. Witnesses describe the continued beating of the victim even after he was unconscious."

" A subsequent investigation also determined the location on Center Hill Lake where the houseboat was anchored at the time of this beating to be located just inside the DeKalb County line. The victim was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga and remained there in the intensive care unit in a comatose state with massive head injuries" until his death this week.

Fourth Annual First Day of School Education Celebration Set for July 30th

July 14, 2009
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow

The Fourth Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Thursday, July 30th from 6-7:30 P.M. downtown around the Court House Square.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th Grade, says the event is free and all parents and students are urged to attend to help kick off the new school year." We are once again this year having our Education Celebration on July 30th at 6:00 p.m. through 7:30 p.m. downtown Smithville. All the schools will participate and our PTO officers will be part of each school booth. We'll have a lot of vendors who will be coming out just to provide information to the parents about different resources in the community. We plan to have a fun night to kick off the beginning of the school year. Once again, we have several businesses and churches who have donated money or who have brought in supplies. Each child will be given supplies that night at their individual school booth. Please show up at your individual school booth to pick up the supplies. We want to invite everyone out on the evening of July 30th. It focuses on pre-k through 12th grade and everything is free. There is no charge. We'll have pizza and different treats available around the public square so please come and partake."

This Education Celebration is nationally known as First Day of School America and is held annually in a lot of the bigger cities in the United States. Since 1997 the First Day Foundation organization has been assisting schools, families and communities to come together for a celebration on the First Day of each new school year to support education and begin a year-long partnership to promote student success. This is also a time that parents and students can become more familiar with the faculty, staff and PTO of the school that they are entering.

The community can support First Day in a number of ways. Community based organizations can provide materials and resources to parents to make them aware of services available to them in the community. Community leaders- mayors, city council members, clergy, businesses, corporate leaders and others can show their support. Local businesses may partner with schools by donating products, services and volunteers to the First Day Celebration.

All five schools in DeKalb County and their Parent Teacher Organizations will be represented at the celebration. Many organizations will also be there distributing information about resources available to them. Enjoy FREE refreshments and take advantage of FREE school supplies .

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 215-2107.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the fun downtown Smithville on Thursday, July 30th.

Please remember that one of the goals for the evening is to have a safe and fun event for all so the City of Smithville will block off traffic during the celebration. All those attending are urged to please cooperate and do not park in areas that have been closed to vehicle traffic. The safety of students and families is very important.

The First Day of School America-- Education Celebration committee would like to thank the sponsors who are making this event possible.

The DeKalb County Education Celebration committee would like to THANK the following churches, community members, and businesses for donating to the 2009 celebration.

Church of the Nazerene
New Hope Baptist Church/ Alexandria
Smithville Church of Christ
Jacobs Pillar United Methodist Church
Peoples Missionary Baptist Church
Salem Baptist Church
Liberty Methodist Church
Snow Hill Methodist Church
Bright Hill Methodist Church
Grace Bible Church
Keltonburg Church of Christ
Whorton Springs Baptist Church
Covenant Baptist Church
New Home Baptist Church
Indian Creek Baptist Church
Lighthouse In Home Ministries
New Union Baptist Church
Mt Zion Baptist Church
Cumberland Presbyterian Church
Smithville Church of God

DeKalb County Farm Bureau
Janney and Associates
Dr.David Foutch O D
Dr. Cliff Duke, DDS
T. Koen Orthodontics

Hill Charged with Theft and Forgery

July 13, 2009
Dwayne Page
Craig Anthony Hill

A 37 year old Smithville man was arrested by the Sheriff's Department in a theft and forgery case last week.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says Craig Anthony Hill of Holmes Creek Road Smithville was arrested last Wednesday, July 8th by detectives of his department for theft of property over $500 and forgery. Hill allegedly took jewelry from a residence on Hurricane Ridge Road without the owners consent and sold it to a local jewelry dealer. Hill also allegedly took checks belonging to the victim and forged them on June 29th and June 30th in amounts totaling $313.00. Hill's bond was set a $30,000 and he will appear in court on July 16th. The Smithville Police Department assisted in the investigation.

On Tuesday, July 7th, deputies received a call of a man who appeared to be intoxicated at the Hurricane Boat Ramp near Hurricane Bridge. Upon arrival, 35 year old Billy Haggard of Highland Avenue,. Baxter was found to be intoxicated having bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, and he was unsteady on his feet. Haggard was arrested for public intoxication and his bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on July 23rd.

On Thursday, July 9th, 19 year old Daniel Reyes of Franchers Mill Road, Sparta was arrested for driving under the influence and no driver's license. Deputies were summoned to a property damage accident on Highway 70 and found Reyes to be the driver of the vehicle. Reyes had an odor of alcohol on his person. He was unsteady on his feet and he failed all field sobriety tasks. Reyes had also been driving an automobile without a valid driver's license. Bond for Reyes was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on July 30th.

Also on Thursday, July 9th, 25 year old Brandon Lynn Tallant of West Broad Street, Smithville ran from deputies while they were trying to serve two violation of probation warrants on him. Tallant was caught without incident and charged with evading arrest. His bond was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on July 23rd.

Deputies arrested 30 year old Rafael Carreno of Short Mountain Road, Smithville on Sunday, July 12th for driving without a valid driver's license. Cortes was caught driving on Highway 146. He could not produce a valid driver's license. Bond for Cortes was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on July 23rd.

Sheriff Ray wants to remind the citizens of the county who need a deputy to respond to make a report or complaint, to be sure you call the central dispatch at 215-3000. "In the past few months, we have seen an increase in emergency phone calls at the jail and the employees there are having to transfer the calls to the dispatch. Anytime there are complaints in which a deputy needs to respond, remember seconds count. You are urged to call the central dispatch instead of the jail because we cannot dispatch calls to deputies from the jail. If you need any other assistance, you may call the jail and we will be happy to assist you."


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