Local News Articles

Nichols Arrested in Pickup Truck Break-In

November 14, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Robert Lee Nichols, Jr.
David Ray Johnson
Clay Andrew Bain

An arrest has been made in a recent pickup truck break-in.

37 year old Robert Lee Nichols, Jr. of Hodges Road, Smithville is charged with burglary, theft of property under $500, vandalism, and driving on a suspended or revoked license. His bond is $11,500 and his court date is December 1. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Wednesday, November 9 Nichols and another person broke into a 1998 Nissan Frontier and stole a machete and foldup chair. Entry was made by breaking out the glass window to the truck. The next day, Thursday November 10, Nichols was arrested after being stopped on Hodges Road for driving on a revoked license. The case was investigated by a detective of the sheriff’s department. No other arrest has yet been made.

54 year old David Ray Johnson of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation and evading arrest. He is further cited for simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana), driving on a suspended license, and driving with expired tags. He will make a court appearance on December 16. Johnson is being held without bond due to violations of court orders.

Sheriff Ray said that on September 8 a detective responded to McDonalds in reference to a wanted person (Johnson). The officer spotted Johnson sitting inside a vehicle and approached him. Johnson told the officer his name was Kenneth Jones. Authorities later learned that Johnson lied about his identity. Because of a medical condition, Johnson was admitted to the hospital that day.

The sheriff’s department did not encounter Johnson again until Sunday, November 13 when a deputy tried to stop a white Honda for a registration violation. When the officer turned on his emergency equipment, the Honda accelerated heading west on Main Street in Dowelltown. Although the Honda disappeared from his view, the deputy continued west on Main Street until he came upon the scene where the car had crashed. Johnson, the driver, got out of the vehicle and tried to hide in a rock ravine. He was placed under arrest. Found near Johnson was a pill bottle bearing his name, containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.

25 year old Clay Andrew Bain of Lakeview Drive, Smithville was charged on Thursday, November 10 with vandalism. His bond is $5,000. Sheriff Ray said that on August 25 while two correctional officers were transporting Bain to the Robertson County Jail, Bain began kicking on the back window of the car until he broke the frame away from the car door and bent the outer door body.

Thomas Named Upper Cumberland 911 Dispatcher of the Year

November 14, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb ECD Director Brad Mullinax presents award to Dispatcher Tony Thomas (right)

The 2016 Upper Cumberland 911 Dispatcher of the Year Award goes to Tony Thomas of DeKalb County

Thomas, an employee of the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District (Central Dispatch/911 Center) recently received the award for his outstanding performance during two events that both involved assisting in the life saving efforts of multiple children in DeKalb County responses.

The award reads "The Upper Cumberland 911 Directors awards you for your outstanding service to DeKalb County and the Upper Cumberland Region. We would like to thank you for your outstanding service and devotion to our profession."

Thomas was nominated for the award by Brad Mullinax, Director of the DeKalb ECD.

“For this year's dispatcher of the year award, DeKalb County would like to nominate Mr. Tony Thomas with DeKalb County 911. Tony has been employed with DeKalb County 911 for the last 12 years. He has served as Supervisor, TAC, Alt TAC and addressing coordinator for our agency. He always goes above and beyond the call of duty to help do anything that I ask him to do. Additionally, I routinely receive compliments on Tony from the general public on how well he does his job and how professional he sounds on the radio,” wrote Mullinax in making the nomination.

“In addition, he has been involved in two recent incidents in which his actions helped save the lives of many in our county. First, Tony and his partner were recognized as part of the State of Tennessee "Star of Life" award winner for the entire State of Tennessee on May 5 2016. The actions of everyone involved, including Tony, helped save the life of a severely injured eight year old boy in June of 2015. Secondly, and more recently, Tony was on shift and part of another award winning incident in August of 2016. This incident occurred in rural DeKalb County and involved a multi-injury accident involving three children that were all air lifted by multiple aircraft to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital. This event also recently received the Upper Cumberland 2016 "Call of the Year" award. He is known for being able to maintain his composure and the accuracy of his work. I am very proud that he is a part of our agency,” Mullinax continued.

“Many times the efforts of the silent heroes go un-recognized in these type events. The heroic efforts of Tony and many others in our field play an important role in the outcome of the event. Therefore, I would like to recognize and formally nominate Tony for the 2016 Upper Cumberland 911 Director's Dispatcher of the Year,” concluded Mullinax.

Local Nurse Killed in Friday night Crash

November 14, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tammy Greco

A 46 year old Smithville woman died from injuries in a two vehicle crash Friday night on Highway 70 at Liberty.

Dead is Tammy Renae Greco. She was a nurse at the Family Medical Center.

Greco was a rear seat passenger of a 2015 Chevrolet Equinox, driven by her husband, 44 year old Daniel J. Greco. Their son, 24 year old Christian D. Greco was a front seat passenger. They were traveling east on Highway 70.

A 17 year old female of Gordonsville was driving the other vehicle, a 2009 Dodge Avenger heading west on Highway 70.

According to the Tennessee Highway Patrol, the juvenile's car crossed through the east bound lanes, struck and bounced off the eastbound guardrail, and hit Greco’s car in the passenger side. The Dodge Avenger came to rest in the east bound lane and Greco’s car came to a stop on the shoulder of the west bound lane.

Tammy Greco was ejected from the Chevy Equinox. Christian was also injured. Both were transported from the scene by DeKalb EMS to a helicopter landing zone near DeKalb West School and airlifted to Vanderbilt Hospital. Tammy later died.

Daniel Greco was not injured. The juvenile was taken by private vehicle to the hospital where she was treated and released. All had been wearing their seatbelts except for Tammy Greco.

According to the investigation, the crash was due to the teenager having fallen asleep while driving. She has been cited for failure to exercise due care.

The accident was investigated by Trooper Chris Delong of the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department and Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

Tammy was a member of the First Assembly of God. She was preceded in death by her father, Donald McCormack and a brother-in-law, Chuck Canady.

Survivors include her husband of 26 years, Danny Greco; a son, Christian Greco; and a daughter, Shelby Greco all of Smithville. Two brothers, Donnie and Melissa McCormack of Ripley and Joe and Michelle McCormack of Watertown. A sister, Melissa Canady of Dyersburg. Mother, Brenda Hart of Dyersburg. Mother and step-father in-law, Charlotte and Michael Nadeau of Florida. Father and step-mother in-law, John and Zenny Greco of Arizona. Sister and brother-in-law, Julie and Shawn McFay of Texas and brother-in-law, Kevin Greco of Arizona.

Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. Complete arrangements will be announced later.

Operation Christmas Child Accepting Donations

November 13, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County residents will have the opportunity to donate Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, beginning Monday, November 14.

Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse is the world’s largest Christmas project that collects and distributes gift-filled shoeboxes for needy children around the world. Since 1993, more than 113 million boxes have been distributed in more than 130 countries. Each year, the project mobilizes more than 100,000 volunteers in the United States.

The week of November 14th through Monday, November 21st, is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child. The drop-off/relay center for this area is located at the Indian Creek Baptist Church, 967 Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville, Tennessee, and is a convenient place for churches, clubs, schools, businesses, and individuals to bring their filled shoe boxes.

The local drop off center will be open, as follows:

*Monday, November 14 through Friday, November 18 – 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

* Saturday, November 19 – 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

*Sunday, November 20 – 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

*Monday, November 21 - 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

You may select from the above dates and hours to deliver your filled shoe boxes to the center.

This holiday season you can experience the true meaning of Christmas with a child in need by simply packing your shoeboxes with toys, hygiene items, school supplies, and other small gifts.

For further information please contact:
Sue Puckett:
615/597-7370 (office)
615/597-7325 (home)
615/464-7700 (cell)
suepuckett@dtccom.net (e-mail)

UT Extension DeKalb County Celebrates Dining In for Healthy Families

November 13, 2016
by: 
Dr. April Martin

Think back. When was the last time your family gathered together for a family meal? If your last family meal seems like a distant memory, you can make a change by participating in the Dine In Challenge on Family and Consumer Sciences Day. On December 3rd, UT Extension in partnership with the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) encourages you to gather your family and Dine in together!

Participating in the event is easy. Simply:

1.Visit http://www.aafcs.org/FCSday/commitment.html
2.Complete the sign up form and pledge to dine in as a family on December 3rd.
3.On December 3rd, prepare and eat a meal with your family.

Signing up for the Dine In event is simple. Yet, this simple act can have profound, positive benefits for your family. According to Dr. Christopher Sneed, Extension Specialist with UT Extension, family meals serve as a time for children to learn positive food habits. “Research shows children who eat meals with their families tend to have less rates of obesity, consume more nutrient dense foods and are less likely to develop an eating disorder,” states Sneed.

Even beyond these benefits, a host of other benefits can result from time spent as a family around the table. “Family meal times produce amazing effects on children’s academic and social development,” reiterates Sneed. Children who take part in regular family meals have:
•greater vocabulary growth,
•fewer behavioral problems, and
•better academic performance.

The key thing to remember - it is the process of actually sitting down as a family, having conversation and spending time together that is the most important. Many families may worry they are not able to cook the “perfect” meal and thus forego sitting down to family meal time. Worrying over preparing the perfect meal should not be a concern. Any healthy meal whether it’s a one skillet recipe or something prepared using the slow cooker is the perfect meal for family meal time.

So, what are you waiting for? Sign up today and take the Dine In Challenge. The time you spend around the family table on December 3rd may be the start of a new family tradition and the start of some amazing benefits for your children and your family.
For more information, visit: www.aafcs.org/FCSday.

Tennessee Gun Hunting Season for Deer Opens Saturday, November 19

November 13, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tennessee Gun Hunting Season for Deer Opens Saturday, November 19

Tennessee’s 2016-17 gun hunting season for deer opens Saturday, Nov. 19.

Deer gun season has the traditional opening date of the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. During gun season, sportsmen may also use muzzleloader or archery equipment. As the gun season begins, sportsmen are reminded of changes made for the 2016-17 season in regard to the definition of antlered deer.

Anyone born on or after January 1, 1969 is required to carry proof of satisfactory completion of a hunter education class or be in possession of the Apprentice Hunting License (along with other required licenses) while hunting any species in Tennessee. For more information about Tennessee’s 2016-17 deer hunting seasons, refer to the 2016-17 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide available at all license agents, TWRA regional offices in Jackson, Nashville, Crossville, and Morristown or on the TWRA website at www.tnwildlife.org.

An antlered deer is now defined as any male or female deer with an antler protruding above its hairline. An antlerless deer is now defined as any deer with no antler protruding above its hairline. The new definition was established by the Tennessee Fish and Wildlife Commission at its season-setting meeting this past May. The definition is also listed with photo examples on page 23 of the 2016-17 Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide as produced by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency.

Male fawns with no antler protruding above the hairline do not count toward a hunter’s antlered bag limit, rather toward the hunter’s antlerless bag limits. Deer having already shed their antlers and does without antlers are also considered antlerless. This is the second year that the statewide bag limit for antlered deer is now two. The number includes those taken during the archery only, muzzleloader, and gun seasons. Unit C and D are new management units this year. Unit C includes Cocke, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Jefferson, Unicoi, Union, and Washington counties. Unit D includes the four counties of Blount, Monroe, Polk, and Sevier. The complete deer hunting units are listed on page 22 of the Tennessee Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Since archery only season began in late September, there have been 30,505 deer harvested through the first weekend of muzzleloader season, which also includes the Young Sportsman Hunt in late October. Temperatures have been above normal this fall across the state. The total is 2,341 less than through the same period in 2015

Veterans Recognized for their Service (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

November 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray with WWII Veterans Joe Goodwin, Edward Frazier, and Edsel Frazier
Veterans Place Wreath at Veterans Memorial Monument
Sergeant Major (Retired) Becky George, Army National Guard
Josh Moon Blows Taps

The men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our freedom were honored in a special Veterans Day program Friday morning at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium sponsored by the American Legion Post 122 and Ladies Auxiliary.

The observance featured performances of patriotic music by Susan Hinton and Alan Watt, members of the DeKalb County High School Chorus under the direction of Josh Gulley, and the DCHS Band under the direction of Trent Luna.

Members of Boy Scout Troop 347 presented the colors and led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Local minister Larry Green read scripture and offered a prayer. Commander William Edmonds and Adjutant Ronnie Redmon, Sr. recognized local veterans and special guests and Ladies Auxiliary President Judy Redmon introduced guest speaker Sergeant Major (Retired) Becky George, Army National Guard. After the program, veterans boarded a school bus and were escorted from the county complex to downtown Smithville by Sheriff Patrick Ray and Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker and members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department. The veterans then placed a wreath at the Veterans Memorial Monument outside the courthouse. Josh Moon blew taps on his trumpet to bring the ceremony to a close.

Veterans and other guests were then treated to lunch back at the county complex.

County Mayor Tim Stribling expressed his appreciation to the American Legion POST 122 and Ladies Auxiliary, the DCHS Band and Chorus, Susan Hinton, to Pam Redmon of the Smithville Senior Center and Regina Wilhite and Woodmen of the World and to the veterans themselves for their service to our country.

Spencer Man Killed in Logging Accident

November 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 56 year old Spencer man lost his life in a logging accident this morning (Friday) in a remote area off the Indian Creek Youth Camp Road.

Dead is Royce Turner.

According to Joe Johnson, member of the Smithville-DeKalb County Rescue Squad, a tree fell on the man and killed him. “It was a logging operation and two guys were in the woods cutting trees in a pretty steep place. One of the guys was cutting a tree and it fell and hit another tree. The second tree fell on the victim and he was dead when we got to the scene,” said Johnson.

“Maybe a half mile before you get to Indian Creek Youth Camp, we turned onto a private drive for maybe a mile to a house, went across the ridge, and then by gator accessed an old logging road through the woods to get to the scene. We then had to use ropes to go down a steep place to get him out. We placed him in a stokes basket, brought him up with ropes, put him in the gator, and brought him out to the ambulance,” Johnson added.

Some 13 members of the rescue squad responded along with county firefighters, DeKalb County Sheriff's Department, and DeKalb EMS.

A self-employed logger, Turner was the son of Betty Turner of McMinnville and the late Francis William Turner. In addition to his father, he was preceded in death by son, Colby Turner.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by three children, Cory Turner and wife Andrea of McMinnville, Ashley Hobbs of McMinnville, and Autumn Turner of McMinnville; six grandchildren, Sara and Riley Turner, Anslee McCrary, Emma and Hailey Lamb, and Ryder Hobbs; sister and brother-in-law, Shirlene and Kermit Stiles of McMinnville; and three nieces also survive.

A graveside service and interment will be held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 15, 2016 at Smyrna Cemetery with Mike Steakley officiating. Visitation will be held from 11:00 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at High Funeral Home in McMinnville.

School Board Votes to Increase Its Per Diem Pay

November 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Board of Education

The Board of Education Thursday night voted to give itself an increase in the per diem each member receives for attending regular meetings and work sessions.

Currently and for many years, school board members have been getting $50 per regular meeting and $15 per work session. By a 5-0 vote, the board voted to raise their per diem to $150 each per regular meeting and to $25 each for work sessions or special meetings. They will not receive the workshop pay for any work sessions held on nights when regular board meetings are taking place. Regular meetings are held once per month.

Board members Danny Parkerson, Kate Miller, Shaun Tubbs, Doug Stephens, and Jerry Wayne Johnson all voted in favor. Board members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III and Jim Behsearse were absent.

The issue has been discussed by the school board in work sessions over the last several months and more money was added to this year’s school budget to pay for the per diem increase with the budgetary line item for this expense going from $6,000 to $18,900 this year.

While the increase matches what the county commission earns for regular meetings, school board members decided to keep their workshop pay under what the county commission gets for committee meetings. County Commissioners receive $150 each per regular meeting and $75 for committee meetings.

In other business, Director of Schools Patrick Cripps gave his monthly personnel report to the school board.

Terry Emberton has been hired as a custodian at DCHS and Kristin Sain as an educational assistant at Northside Elementary School. Julie Hale has resigned as an educational assistant at DeKalb West School.

Board Votes to Keep High School Graduation at DCHS

November 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Board Votes to Keep High School Graduation at DCHS

The Class of 2017 at DeKalb County High School will graduate Friday, May 26 on campus at DCHS.

Although two recent surveys of the Class revealed a majority wished to have the commencement at Tennessee Tech’s Hooper Eblen Center in Cookeville, the Board of Education Thursday night voted to keep the graduation at home. In the first senior family survey, 81% of the respondents voted to have the graduation at Tech. A follow-up survey of just the senior class students showed that 113 or 57% want to have the commencement at Tech, 46 or 23% do not, and 39 students or 19% have no preference.

The school board voted 4-1 to have the 2017 graduation at DCHS on Friday, May 26. Board members Jerry Wayne Johnson, Shaun Tubbs, Doug Stephens, and Danny Parkerson voted in favor. Kate Miller voted against preferring to honor the wishes of the majority of the students. Board members W.J. (Dub) Evins, III and Jim Beshearse were absent.

Stephens, who chaired the school board meeting Thursday night in the absence of Chairman Evins, said members of the board discussed the issue at a workshop prior to the meeting. “We did discuss this at the workshop. Considering the costs and considering that the second time we went back and asked for acceptance, the public’s vote (student survey response) was close enough that I think the view of the board decided to keep it here,” said Stephens.

For several years the DCHS graduation has been held on the high school football field. The threat of rain last year forced the administration to change the date from the previously scheduled Friday, May 20 to Thursday, May 19. But the move forced some relatives coming from farther distances to change their travel plans.

Since there is no other venue large enough in DeKalb County to accommodate the crowds who attend graduation, the commencement must be held on the high school football field unless it is moved out of county. Attendance would be limited to ticket holders if the graduation were moved indoors to the DCHS gymnasium, county complex, or even at the McMinnville Civic Center.

Having the DCHS graduation at Tennessee Tech would resolve several concerns. It would accommodate the crowd. It would be cheaper. While the school system would have to rent the Hooper Eblen Center for one night, it would not have to rent chairs, a sound system, or pay other costs associated with organizing a commencement. However there could be liability concerns, especially if the school system were to provide bus transportation for the graduates. And it could create a hardship for some families who might not have the means or transportation to get to an out of county venue.

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