Local News Articles

DeKalb County Officer Completes D.A.R.E. Training

December 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

A new group of police officers and sheriff?s deputies, including one from DeKalb County, graduated Friday from D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) training conducted by the Tennessee Department of Safety.

Tim Hearn of the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department was among the graduates.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says he is proud of Officer Hearn's accomplishments. \"Tim is an outstanding officer with good morals and ethics. He works very well with children.\"

Hearn and his wife Shelley have two young children, Jaycee and Jayden.

The culmination exercise was held at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville.

Tennessee began its 37 th D.A.R.E. Officer Training on November 25 th at the Sheraton Music City Hotel. The training is conducted by the Highway Patrol?s internationally recognized D.A.R.E. unit. The instructors teach a two-week course that certifies law enforcement officers in the Elementary and Middle School D.A.R.E. curricula.

The 22 officers who completed the course represent 20 Tennessee law enforcement agencies, one from Chandler , Arizona and the Caribbean island of St. Maarten , Netherland Antilles. Upon completion of the training, the officers are also trained to assume duties as School Resource Officers (SRO?s) in their communities.

?The D.A.R.E. program is important in the fight against drug use by young people,? said THP Commander Colonel Mike Walker. ?Its success in keeping children and teens away from drugs is recognized across the United States , and around the world.?

D.A.R.E. is in its 24 th year and is taught in all 50 states plus some 54 foreign countries. Since 1990, the THP has conducted dozens of D.A.R.E. Training Seminars in Nashville . The classes have prepared more than a thousand officers to work with young people on drug education. D.A.R.E. focuses on responsibility and resistance to peer pressure. It targets communication and refusal skills, decision-making skills and awareness about drugs and health. D.A.R.E. programs across Tennessee reach approximately 80% of all school systems, and an estimated 50-thousand children each year.

?D.A.R.E.?s success proves that early intervention helps keep kids away from drugs,? said THP Lieutenant Leonard Moudy, Tennessee ?s D.A.R.E. coordinator. He adds ?the curriculum is demanding and comprehensive. Lt. Moudy attended the culmination exercise along with Lt. Col Strawther and Captain Don Nicholson.

Adcock Charged In Friday Night Break-Ins

December 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 49 year old DeKalb County man believed to be responsible for a couple of break-ins Friday night.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Calvin Kent Adcock of 4456 Keltonburg Road, Smithville is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary, vandalism, and unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia ( a syringe). His bond is set at $161,500.

In a prepared news release, Chief Stufano says \"On Friday night, Smithville Police Officers responded to the area of Dr. Melvin Blevins' Office located at 516 West Main Street to a reported burglar alarm.

Upon arrival, officers found that a rear plate glass window had been broken out. Once inside, the officers found a substantial amount of damage had occurred with gapping holes in the walls and ceiling tiles had been pulled down. It was determined that entry was made into the adjoining business known as Johnny's Drugs.

The burglar had cut numerous holes in the walls trying to gain an access point big enough to fit his body through into the pharmacy. Once inside the drug store, shelves and cases had been ransacked in an attempt to find narcotics.

Upon the discovery of the burglary, officers immediately set up a half mile perimeter around the business looking for anyone that may look suspicious, and found Adcock walking about three blocks away from the break-in. Due to the time of night and the hurried state Adcock was walking, officers stopped him.

Adcock was found with pieces of wall insulation in his hood and drywall dust on his pants and head. He also had a small cut on his hand and dried blood on his jacket. The crime scene investigation determined that blood traces left at the scene were consistent with the cuts the suspect had on his hand when found. Detectives were also able to match a footprint impression left at the scene to the shoes Adcock was wearing.

Once inside the pharmacy, additional evidence was found to support that Adcock was in fact the person who committed the crime. Hidden surveillance cameras positively identified him as the one who entered through the hole in the wall.

Both owners of the businesses responded to start cleaning up the extensive damage caused by the burglary.

Adcock was taken into custody and charged at the DeKalb County Jail.

On Monday, officials of the State Department of Probation and Parole contacted the Smithville Police Department advising that Adcock, who was already on probation for similar crimes, had a current warrant for violation of probation and that they would be serving that warrant at the jail.\"

Chief Stufano says \"In recent weeks, the Smithville Police Department has been able to solve a number of high profile cases through the participation and interaction of residents and the cooperation and partnership with other law enforcement agencies. This team concept has allowed the constant flow of critical information needed to solve cases.

The Smithville Police Department wishes to express it's appreciation to all who have helped in these efforts and will continue it's aggressive stance on crime in our city. This support from the community, city leadership, and media is affording the citizens of Smithville the very best in both safety and prevention.\"

Smithville Man Charged With Incest and Rape of a Child

December 11, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have charged a 32 year old man with the rape of a 12 year old child.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says Steven Baker of 439 Lafever Street, Smithville is charged with statutory rape by an authority figure, rape of a child, and incest.

The arrest was made Friday after an investigation by officers and detectives assigned to the Smithville Police Sexual Assault Unit.

Stufano says \" Officers working with the Department of Children Services had been investigating a third party report suggesting that Baker had possibly been sexually active with a 12 year old family member.\"

\"Upon contacting Baker, the investigators were able to determine that he had a lengthy liaison over the last three years with the minor and other female juveniles living around his residence\".

Chief Stufano says \"Baker would lure the children into watching pornographic films and then enter into childish touching games that eventually led to more aggressive sexual contact.\"

\"During the course of this investigation, Baker admitted to his past sexual contacts with children.\"

The investigation is continuing. Baker was booked into the DeKalb County Jail under a $250,000 bond.

Stufano says the Smithville Police Department has established a specialized Sexual Assault Unit that actively investigates these types of crimes. \"These highly trained investigators work closely with schools, churches, civic organizations, and State Child Protective Services to protect the rights of these victims and also protect the victims and witnesses confidentiality. Our residents are encouraged to contact the Police Department if they suspect that this type of activity may be occurring.\"

Smithville Police Charge Murfreesboro Couple With Passing Counterfeit Checks

December 12, 2006
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have again made significant progress investigating Identify Theft here within the City.

Chief Thomas J. Stufano says detectives assigned to revisit older cases that were still open usually referred to as \"cold cases\" were able to follow up on new information and identify and charge two persons.

The original case started on September 6th when Smithville Police received complaints of unknown persons using counterfeit checks within the city limits. Throughout the course of the investigation, it was found that fraudulent checks have been mass produced and used throughout the southeast region of the United States with losses exceeding over $2 million dollars.

Detectives from the Smithville Police Department, United States Secret Service, FBI, and Tennessee Criminal Investigation Division of the Department of Safety were able to successfully track the spending patterns of the suspects leading to the identity and arrest of a husband and wife team living in Murfreesboro.

The suspects had been producing the checks on high tech copy machines and established numerous fraudulent aliases and company accounts. In some cases, the checks were also used as payroll checks which were processed for cash.

Arrested were 25 year old Beatrice Lynn McWhorter and 26 year old James Christopher McWhorter of 811 Twin Oaks Drive, Murfreesboro. The two are currently being held at the White County Jail on numerous charges.

Smithville Police have also charged the pair with two counts of passing counterfeit checks in the City of Smithville. Bond for them is $20,000 each.

Due to the complexity of the case and the vast amount of fraud the investigation is still continuing with additional arrests expected.

Meanwhile, in an unrelated case, Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department would like to advise the public that there is an international check scam currently being used in our city and residents should be aware of this illegal activity.

Residents may receive a letter from a company in Canada stating that a city resident is the winner in an international sweepstakes. The letter goes on to read that the company has enclosed a check drawn on a U.S. Bank in an amount varying from $3,000 to $4,000. The enclosed check is to be immediately deposited in the winner's bank account. The winner is to then write a personal check out of their account for the $3,500 to cover taxes on the winnings and forward it back to the sweepstakes company. The letter further states the final payment of the winnings, usually in the amount of $80,000 will be immediately sent to the winner when their funds to cover the taxes have reached the company.

Chief Stufano says high pressure tactics in the letter include time parameters the winner must meet in order to collect the winnings. Another tactic in the letter states \"Special Notice\"- \"This award program has come to the public notice and in order to avoid unauthorized organizations or individuals contacting you, please ensure that this winning is kept confidential\".

Stufano says if you have received one of these letters do not deposit the fraudulent check in your account and be sure to contact police.

Chief Stufano says the Smithville Police Department is strongly committed to actively investigating cases of Identify Theft and Fraud used against our citizens. If you believe you may have been the victim or would like more information on these types of crimes, you are encourgaed to contact the Smithville Police Department.

Willoughby Presents Monthly Report on Personnel To School Board

December 14, 2006
Dwayne Page

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby submitted his report on personnel to the Board of Education Thursday night.

Those employed since the last meeting are Beverly Starnes, full time cafeteria worker and Richard Bullard, full time custodian at DCHS.

Jennifer Agee, special education assistant has resigned

Those granted a leave of absence as requested include Karen Knowles, Smithville Elementary School teacher, and Pamela Fults, DCHS Chorus teacher.

In other business, the school board voted to accept bids on buses to be taken out of service including a 1986 84 passenger bus, two 1991 72 passenger buses, two 1991 78 passenger buses, a 1991 66 passenger bus, and a 1978 Ford Panel van. Bids will be opened and the vehicles sold at the January meeting.

Jeannie Watson and Shan Burklow requested permission from the board to produce a school calendar which would include photographs of children and dates of school functions. The calendar would serve as a fundraiser for the non-profit Operation Head To Toe, which provides clothes for needy children in this county during Christmas time. Some ninety children have been served this year.

The board decided to defer action until receiving input from the school principals next month.

Supervisor of Instruction Carol Hendrix gave a report on the School Report Card released last month by the Tennessee Department of Education.

Sheriff Seeks Donations Of Cell Phones For Abuse Victims

December 17, 2006
Dwayne Page

If you are thinking of replacing your cell phone with a new one this Christmas, Sheriff Patrick Ray is asking you to please donate your old one to the Genesis House so that victims of domestic violence may have a cell phone to call 911 as they need assistance.

Sheriff Ray says the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department is the collection point for your donation of cell phones and battery chargers.

The Genesis House mission is to promote the general welfare of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault by providing shelter, goods, and services.

If you are a victim of abuse, the Genesis House has a 24 hour crisis hotline at 1-800-707-5197

School System to Receive Funds from Microsoft Settlement

December 18, 2006
Dwayne Page

The Tennessee Department of Education will distribute $15-million 315- thousand 586 in software vouchers to local school systems as a result of a settlement in a lawsuit against Microsoft Corporation. The class action suit alleged Microsoft used unlawful trade practices to maintain a monopoly and overcharge Tennessee consumers.

The DeKalb County School System is to received $43,448.

State Education Commissioner Lana Seivers says \"We are pleased that the outcome will allow Tennessee school systems to upgrade technology for the benefit of their students and allow additional resources to be directed toward improving teaching and learning.\"

Each school district will receive approximately $16.40 per student according to the district's average daily membership (ADM) at the end of the 2005-06 school year. Local administrators may use software vouchers for current or future Microsoft operating system software such as Microsoft Windows, Microsoft Office applications and encyclopedia software and certain non-Microsoft software.

Dr. Tim Webb, Assistant Commissioner for Resource and Support Services says \"The department is working diligently to help districts take advantage of these vouchers in a timely manner.\"

Tennessee attorneys James Stranch of Branstetter, Stranch & Jennings, PLLC and Ted Carey of Barrett, Johnston & Parsley handled Tennessee's case, which was one of the first cases to be filed and has resulted in one of the stronger settlements nationwide.

City To Apply For CDBG Grant

December 19, 2006
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen Monday night, following a public hearing, adopted a resolution seeking a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

The resolution states that the city is in dire need of a sewer system rehabilitation project due to excessive infiltration or inflow of surface water into the sewer system.

The total project is estimated to be $582,000. The city's local matching portion would be $82,000 if the grant is approved.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker gave notice to the Mayor and Aldermen that the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department would no longer be providing extrication services at wrecks outside the city limits effective January 1st.

Parker says \" A couple of weeks ago I was informed by DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green that the County Fire Department had purchased some rescue equipment and wants to assume extrication service to the county as of January 1, 2007.\"

Parker says \"This is just to go on record that as of January 1st, the Smithville Fire Department will no longer be responsible or liable to respond to calls outside the city limits of Smithville as first call or automatic response.\"

\"We will continue to provide service to the City of Smithville as we have for the past 21 years. We will however respond outside the city with available personnel to requests from any agencies, including law enforcement, EMS, fire, and rescue anywhere that our services may be needed.\"

Parker says \"The Smithville Fire Department started rescue services to Smithville and DeKalb County in 1985. Under the leadership of then Mayor Waniford Cantrell, the city managed to purchase the Jaws of Life equipment, and with a lot of personal involvement from then Fire Chief W.J. \"Dub\" Keith and then Captain Buddy Parker, members of the community and the fire department, a used step van was converted into the first rescue vehicle. We have been adding or replacing some equipment ever since.\"

In other business, the city board approved the employment of certified police officer Travis Bryant and water treatment plant trainee Bruce Medley.

The mayor and aldermen entered into an agreement with Charles McGaughy, doing business as Mack Air LLC, to use a portion of the main airport terminal building to make repairs and maintenance to aircraft there.

The city board also set the regular meeting dates for the calendar year 2007.

The mayor and aldermen will meet at 7:00 p.m. at city hall on the following dates: February 5th and 19th, March 5th and 19th, April 2nd and 16th, May 7th and 21st, June 4th and 18th, July 2nd and 16th, August 6th and 20th, September 17th, October 1st and 15th, November 5th and 19th, and December 3rd and 17th.

The city board will not meet on January 1st for New Year's Day, January 15th for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday observance, and on Labor Day, September 3rd.

Foster Named Chairman of County Commission

December 20, 2006
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night unanimously selected County Mayor Mike Foster as the Chairman of the Commission for the year.

Seventh District Commissioner Larry Summers was named Chairman Pro Temp.

The chairman presides over all county commission meetings. The chairman pro temp fills in for the chairman in his absence.

In other business, the commission adopted two proposed amendments to the Subdivision Regulations on second and final reading upon the recommendation of the Planning Commission.

County Mayor Mike Foster says one of the proposed amendments pertains to the design and construction of new roads in subdivision developments and the other regulates flag lots \" Roads must have a thickness of asphalt binder of two inches. This new regulation would require a wearing surface of another one and a half inches at the final completion for a total of three and a half inches of blacktop.\"

\"Under the flag lot regulations, there must be a minimum of 50 feet road frontage and it cannot exceed 300 feet. Flag lots must not encompass 10% of the total development. This is to prevent someone from having so many flag lots to keep from building a road.\"

Another proposed amendment would revise the \"Hillside Development Standards\".

Foster says the proposed change is primarily meant to stop some lot developments on the lake that are actually too steep for development.

However no action was taken on that amendment Monday night. Foster says the Planning Commission wants to make some changes in the proposal. \"We had a meeting of the planning commission last Monday night and I think we have agreed there are ways to work out the problems we need solved. We will have a work session on that (issue) and we'll invite you (county commissioners) and the planning commission to that meeting to address it.\"

\"The problem of the real steep lots is that they don't provide adequate parking or sewer/septic system capacity. The planning commission will likely recommend that the homeowner be required to have a licensed engineer to lay out the foundation on lots with a 30% or greater slope.\"

Jennings Named Assistant DCHS Lady Tiger Coach

December 31, 1969
Dwayne Page

If you attended Wednesday night's Lady Tiger basketball game in the Christmas Tournament at Red Boiling Springs, you may have noticed a new coach courtside.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby says Randy Jennings has been named an assistant to head coach Amy Tobitt for the remainder of this basketball season, upon the recommendation of DCHS Principal Kathy Hendrix.

Willoughby says Jennings was approached by Hendrix to take the assistant coaching position after Coach Tobitt requested some help with the program.

Jennings is a former DeKalb West School basketball player and coach, and a DCHS basketball standout. He played baseball in college and is a former basketball coach at Watertown High School. He is currently Principal of DeKalb Middle School and is former Principal at Smithville Elementary School.

Willoughby says Jennings' new assignment will in no way interfere with his responsibilities as Principal of DeKalb Middle School.


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