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Local News Articles

Myron Rhody Appointed to County Beer Board

March 29, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Beer Board has a new member.

During Monday night's regular monthly meeting, Myron Rhody was appointed by the county commission as the new beer board member in the 2nd district. The vote was 13 to 0. Frank Thomas, who has served in that position for several years was not nominated for appointment.

Meanwhile Incumbent Beer Board members Robert Rowe in the 4th district and Leonard Dickens in the 6th district were appointed. Each term is for two years effective in April.

Names of each appointee were placed in nomination by county commissioners in their districts, 2nd, 4th, and 6th and then voted on by the entire county commission.

Last month the county commission voted to establish terms for members of the Beer Board. Up until now the seven members of the beer board had basically served for life or until they resigned. With this action, the county commission is not creating term limits. A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of terms an officeholder may serve in an office. Each beer board member may still serve as long as they wish as long as they are reappointed to new terms by the county commission.

Fifth District Commissioner Anita Puckett last month made a motion to have all seven members serve as appointees and that the terms be staggered with the 1st, 3rd, 5th, & 7th district positions being appointed in odd years. The 2nd, 4th, & 6th district seats will be filled in even years. Puckett also wants the beer board to re-organize (name officers) every twenty four months. Puckett's motion was approved on a 9-4 vote.

Members of the Beer Board are Jim Stagi in the 1st District, Myron Rhody in the 2nd District, Edward Frazier in the 3rd District, Robert Rowe in the 4th District, Rhonda Caplinger in the 5th District, Leonard Dickens in the 6th District, and Johnny King in the 7th District.

Richard Jennings Appointed Judicial Commissioner

March 29, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Richard Jennings

Former Smithville Police Chief Richard Jennings has been appointed as judicial commissioner by the county commission to fill a vacancy created by the recent resignation of Taft Hendrixson due to health reasons.

Jennings was among sixteen applicants for the position but he was the one recommended by the county's judicial committee made up of the General Sessions/Juvenile Court Judge, Sheriff, Circuit Court Clerk, County Mayor, and a representative of the District Attorney General's Office.

County Mayor Tim Stribling presented the committee's recommendation during Monday night's monthly meeting of the county commission. All thirteen members voted for Jennings. The county has three judicial commissioners including Jennings, James Harvey Barnes, and Tammy Ashburn. Barnes , Ashburn, and former judicial commissioner Hendrixson were appointed by the county commission to the positions for a one year term last September as recommended by the judicial committee.

Others who had applied to fill the vacancy include Kelly Myers, Chelsie Bryant, James Newsom, Boyd Bruce Malone, Mark Violet, Kassy Kelly Swisher, Brian Reed, Timothy Perricone, Richard Mielke, III, Mark Steff, Joey Crabtree, Sandy Brown, Bennett Armstrong, Danny Cowan, and Kenneth Taylor.

The county re-advertised the opening last month after receiving only one application during the first filing period. The lone applicant was the spouse of a Smithville Police Officer and members of the judicial committee were concerned that this could be viewed as a conflict.

Judicial commissioners are responsible for the issuance of criminal arrest warrants upon finding probable cause. They are subject to call at all hours of the day and night. Judicial commissioners serve at the pleasure of the county commission and their terms of office can be one year to four years.

Gayla Hendrix to Run for State Representative

March 28, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Gayla Hendrix

A Democrat will be in the race for State Representative in the 40th district this year.

Gayla Hendrix of Smithville has obtained a qualifying petition from the DeKalb County Election Commission. She plans to seek the Democratic nomination in August for the seat now held by Republican Incumbent Terri Lynn Weaver of Lancaster. Weaver is also seeking re-nomination by the GOP in August.

The qualifying deadline is April 7.

The race will be decided in the Tennessee General Election in November.

Hendrix currently serves as Alderman for the City of Smithville.

"I was born and raised in DeKalb County. I graduated from DCHS and went on to college at MTSU where I earned a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree in education. From there I went to Tennessee Tech University where I earned an Education Specialist degree. I later earned a degree from the Nashville School of Law. I am an attorney and formerly served as an educator in the DeKalb County School System. I also owned my own small business right off of the courthouse square for a couple of years. My husband, Farron Hendrix and I have three children," said Hendrix.

Hendrix' first entry into politics came in 2008 when she sought the Democratic nomination for State Representative. Three years later Hendrix was elected alderman in Smithville. She served one term but returned to the Board of Aldermen in 2014.

Nashville Man Charged with Theft of Jet Skis

March 28, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kendall Dee Hedrick
Lynda Michelle Neville
Billy Douglas Ferrell
Jerry Clayton Lewis
Melissa Ann Wheeler

A Nashville man has been arrested for stealing a trailer and two Jet Skis on Holmes Creek Road last week.

43 year old Kendall Dee Hedrick of Franklin Pike, Nashville is charged with theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on April 7. Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, March 21 Hedrick allegedly stole from the owner's property on Holmes Creek Road two 1999 Polaris Jet Skis and a trailer valued at $2,500. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

39 year old Lynda Michelle Neville of Smith Road, Smithville was arrested on Monday, March 21 and charged with violation of probation, evading arrest, reckless endangerment, driving on a revoked license, and failure to appear. Her bond totals $17, 500 but she is being held without bond for the violation of probation. She will be in court on the VOP on April 4. Sheriff Ray said that on January 21 a sheriff's department detective spotted Neville operating a motor vehicle on South College Street in Smithville. Knowing that her license were revoked and that she had active warrants against her, the detective activated his blue lights and siren to make a traffic stop but Neville evaded traveling at a high rate of speed. The pursuit began on South College Street onto West Webb Street and then to South Mountain Street. During the pursuit, Neville ran a stop sign at South Mountain Street and a red light at Broad Street and Short Mountain Highway placing a pedestrian and other vehicles at risk. Due to excessive speeds of 100 miles per hour or greater, the detective terminated the pursuit on Short Mountain Highway. Neville's actions placed people in imminent danger or serious bodily injury.A computer check revealed that her license were revoked in Sumner County last year.

28 year old Billy Douglas Ferrell of Dale Ridge Road, Dowelltown is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $10,000 and he will make a court appearance on April 7. According to Sheriff Ray on Tuesday, March 22 a deputy was dispatched to Midway Road in response to a domestic call. Upon arrival he spoke with Ferrell and a woman. She claims Ferrell and his brother and uncle showed up there after they had been drinking and became involved in a fight. When she went to check , the woman said Ferrell entered the residence where he grabbed and shoved her into the kitchen sink. She then called 911.

29 year old Jerry Clayton Lewis of Third Avenue North, Baxter is charged with contributing to the delinquency of a minor. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on April 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, March 17 Lewis picked up a 14 year old girl and took her to his home in Crossville without her father's consent. The case was investigated by a sheriff's department detective.

32 year old Melissa Ann Wheeler of Midway Road, Smithville is charged with disorderly conduct. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on May 12. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, March 26 Wheeler committed the offense of disorderly conduct by being in a public place with the intent to cause a public annoyance. Wheeler was found to be irate and screaming aloud in a public place.

DeKalb Jobless Rate Drops to 5.4% in February

March 26, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County unemployment rate for February was 5.4%, down from 5.9% in January and 7.4% in February 2015.

The local labor force for February was 7,450. A total of 7,050 were employed and 400 were without work.

Jobless rates for February among the fourteen counties in the Upper Cumberland region were as follows from highest to lowest:

Pickett:7.3%
Clay: 7%
Jackson: 6.9%
Van Buren: 6.7%
Fentress: 6.4%
Cumberland: 6.3%
Overton: 5.6%
DeKalb: 5.4%
Smith: 4.7%
White: 4.6%
Putnam: 4.5%
Cannon: 4.3%
Warren: 4.3%
Macon:4.1%

County unemployment rates for February show they decreased in 93 counties, increased in one, and remained the same in one county.
For the month of February, Davidson County had the state’s lowest major metropolitan rate at 3.3 percent, down from January’s rate of 3.5 percent. Knox County was 3.6 percent in February, down from 3.9 the previous month. The Hamilton County rate was 4.2 percent, down from 4.6 in January. Shelby County was 4.9 percent, down from 5.4 percent the previous month

Tennessee’s preliminary unemployment rate for February was 4.9 percent, down five tenths of a percentage point from the previous month’s revised rate. The U.S. preliminary rate for February was also 4.9 percent, unchanged from the previous month.

The state and national unemployment rates are seasonally adjusted while the county unemployment rates are not. Seasonal adjustment is a statistical technique that eliminates the influences of weather, holidays, the opening and closing of schools, and other recurring seasonal events from economic time series.

4-H Horse Judging Team Places 2nd at Regional Contest

March 26, 2016
by: 
By: Leigh Fuson, 4-H Agent
(Back Row) Madison Ray, Haylee Merriman, Sarah Mahan, Raiden Griffin, Preston Moore, Logan Herriman, Maeloree Kirby, Megan Price, and Lily Martin (Front Row) Shayla Kirby, Katelyn Henry, Ryder Miller, Ayden Jones, Riley Fuson, Hannah Redmon, and Kolton Slager
2nd Place:The Junior Team placed 1st in the Halter and 2nd Overall. Ryder Miller, Riley Fuson, and Hannah Miller. Hannah placed 3rd in halter, 5th in performance, and 4th overall. Kolton Slager (not pictured) was 9th high individual.
Katelyn Henry placed 4th in the performance divison and Lily Martin was 9th high individual.

The DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging teams recently traveled to Murfreesboro for the Central Region contest held at MTSU. We had 16 total youth who competed. In the Jr. High Division (6th-8th grade), contestants were Raiden Griffin, Katelyn Henry, Logan Herriman, Maeloree Kirby, Shayla Kirby, Sarah Mahan, Lily Martin, Haylee Merriman, Preston Moore, Megan Price, and Madison Ray. Lily Martin was the 9th high individual overall and Katelyn Henry placed 4th in the performance category.

Contestants in the Jr. Division (4th-5th grades) were Riley Fuson, Ayden Jones, Ryder Miller, Hannah Redmon, and Kolton Slager. This team placed 2nd overall and 1st in the halter category. Hannah Redmon was 4th high individual, 3rd in halter, and 5th in performance. Kolton Slager was 9th high individual and 8th in halter.

During this event, youth put their decision making skills and horse knowledge to the test. Contestants watched four performance (riding) classes that included hunter under saddle, reining, western horsemanship, and walking horses. The horses in each class were ranked 1-4 based on specific criteria needed for that discipline of riding. Three halter, or conformation, classes were also judged. These horses were judged on muscling, structure, and balance. After ranking the horses, the 4-H’ers’ decision was compared to that of the official judge, and a score was awarded.

These 4-H members practiced several times before the contest and enjoyed a field trip to judge live horses. DeKalb County was very well represented at this regional contest! Each 4-H member should feel proud of their accomplishments and hard work. To learn more about horse judging, or any 4-H activity, please contact the DeKalb County Extension Office at 615-597-4945.

Photo Captions:

Group: DeKalb County 4-H Horse Judging Teams (Back Row) Madison Ray, Haylee Merriman, Sarah Mahan, Raiden Griffin, Preston Moore, Logan Herriman, Maeloree Kirby, Megan Price, and Lily Martin (Front Row) Shayla Kirby, Katelyn Henry, Ryder Miller, Ayden Jones, Riley Fuson, Hannah Redmon, and Kolton Slager

2nd Place:The Junior Team placed 1st in the Halter and 2nd Overall. Ryder Miller, Riley Fuson, and Hannah Miller. Hannah placed 3rd in halter, 5th in performance, and 4th overall. Kolton Slager (not pictured) was 9th high individual.

Katelyn and Lily : Katelyn Henry placed 4th in the performance divison and Lily Martin was 9th high individual.

More than $3,600 Raised During DCHS Project Graduation Radiothon

March 25, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
DCHS Seniors Kaylene Ferguson and Caitlin Jacobs (answering phone) during DCHS Project Graduation Radiothon on WJLE
DCHS Seniors Morgan Vickers, Caitlin Jacobs, Keely McKay, and Chloe White
DCHS Teacher Chris Vance Interviews DCHS Senior Jailyn Bolding

More than $3,600 was raised during a three hour radiothon Friday morning on WJLE for the DCHS Class of 2016 Project Graduation.

DCHS teacher Chris Vance hosted the program and several members of the class participated by answering phones and taking pledges. Some entertained. Parents who
serve on the Project Graduation committee were also involved in the program.

"We cannot say thank you enough to WJLE for giving us this time and to Chris Vance for giving us his time this morning. The response has been overwhelming for our children to provide a safe environment for them on one of the scariest nights of your child's life if you are a parent. We want to thank everyone who made a donation. We appreciate it," said Angela Johnson, a parent who serves on the Project Graduation Entertainment Committee.

Project Graduation is an all night drug-free, alcohol-free graduation party at the school for members of the DCHS Class of 2016 committed to having a safe, wholesome, yet entertaining celebration together for the last time as a class. "We will provide on that night a safe, drug free and alcohol free environment for the children. They will come in at eleven o'clock that night and stay until five o'clock the next morning. We will have activities such as the bubble balls, mechanical bulls, bungee jumping, etc. We will have food. There will be games and a dee jay there for the entire time. Every student who participates that night receives money or some type of gift," said Johnson.

"I am so excited about the number of seniors who showed up today for the radiothon including Caitlin Jacobs, Noah Parsley, Keely McKay, Chloe White, Kaylene Ferguson, Azya McCoy, D.J. Thompson, Hailey Summers, Aspen Flarity, Hannah Walker, Hannah James, Brooklynn Seifert, Carly Moss, Delaney Johnson, Jerica Braswell, Morgan Vickers, Ashli Chew, Jailyn Bolding, Isabella Johnson, Haden Cripps, Kirkland Smallwood, Garrett Johnson, Hannah Lasser, Elijah Hendrixson, Caitlin Turner, Kyra Slager, Jennifer Caplinger, and Katlin Rhea," said Karen Jacobs, a parent and member of the Project Graduation Committee

Other fundraising events are planned including a plant sale on Saturday, April 9 from 8:00 a.m. until noon at the DCHS parking lot. Local nurseries are donating plants for the sale. A Car Wash will also be scheduled in May.

If you would like to make a donation to Project Graduation you may send it to DCHS Project Graduation in care of Karen Jacobs at 831 Driver Street in Smithville 37166. You may also stop by Liberty State Bank in Smithville and give it to Rhonda Caplinger.

Project Graduation will follow the DCHS graduation program on Friday, May 20

Mother Charged with Endangering Viable Fetus

March 25, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Samantha Shaye Goodson

Smithville Police have charged the mother of a now four month old baby with endangering a viable fetus because of her drug use while pregnant.

22 year old Samantha Shaye Goodson was arrested on Friday, March 18 for (endangering) a viable fetus as a victim. Goodson gave birth to a child in November 2015 and a drug test of the umbilical cord came back positive for hydromorphone and marijuana for which Goodson had no prescription. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court on April 7.

State law allows prosecutors to pursue criminal assault charges and potential jail terms if women bear children who are addicted or suffer other injuries because of the mom’s drug use.

27 year old Kyle Roger Stewart was cited on Thursday, March 3 for simple possession and for fraudulently altering a driver's license. According to police, officers were investigating a possible auto theft when it was discovered that Stewart had given a local business an ID with his picture on it but with someone else's name who is wanted out of Smith County. Police learned that Stewart found the driver's license in the road and taped his photo to it. Also found were approximately five grams of marijuana in a baggie. His court date is March 31.

25 year old Ashley Marie Singleton was cited on Friday, March 4 for theft of property. Police were called to Tractor Supply in reference to a possible shoplifter. While speaking with Singleton officers discovered that she had items concealed in her purse belonging to the store.

30 year old Justin Lynn Murphy was arrested on Tuesday, March 8 for public intoxication. Police were called to the scene of a disturbance allegedly caused by Murphy. Officers arrived on White Street and spoke with Murphy who was found to have slurred speech. Murphy was unsteady on his feet and he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person and on his breath. Due to his condition, Murphy was placed in custody for his safety and that of the public. Bond for Murphy is $1,500 and he will be in court on April 7.

26 year old Jeremy Silas Shelton was arrested on Sunday, March 13 for domestic assault. While investigating a domestic assault, police learned that Shelton and the victim had a disagreement that became physical when Shelton allegedly grabbed the victim around the neck with his left hand and slammed her on the bed leaving a red mark around her neck. Bond for Shelton is $2,500.

32 year old James Matthew Martin was arrested on Monday, March 14 for simple possession of a Schedule IV & VI drug and he was cited for possession of drug paraphernalia. In the area of Village Place, police spotted a man who appeared to be passed out at the steering wheel of his parked vehicle. Officers awoke the man, Martin and found that he had in his possession 2 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, 8 yellow round pills believed to be Benzodiazepines for which he had no prescription, and two glass pipes with containing burnt marijuana residue. Bond for Martin is $3,000 and his court date is April 21.

32 year old Daniel R Wilson was arrested on Tuesday, March 15 for evading arrest. Wilson was observed in the parking lot of East Side Inn talking on the phone. When he saw the police arriving he abruptly turned around and began walking toward the woods. A warrant check revealed that Wilson has an active Failure to Appear warrant against him out of Putnam County. Police initiated a foot pursuit and apprehended Wilson. He was charged with evading. His bond is $10,000 and his court date is March 24.

19 year old Braxton Kain Bennett was arrested on Friday, March 18 for public intoxication. Police were called to Wal-Mart in reference to a suspicious person. Upon arrival officers found Bennett who was unsteady on his feet. He bumped into several shelves while walking and nearly fell twice. Bennett submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest for his safety and that of the public. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on April 14.

Three family members were arrested for domestic assault on Monday, March 21. Police responded to a residence on East Main Street where 49 year old Stevie Randell Reeder, 50 year old Tony Jeffery Reeder and, 51 year old Lisa Inez Vice had gotten into a verbal argument that became physical. Officers learned that the siblings had been drinking when the argument and assault ensued. Police could not determine who was the primary aggressor so all three were taken into custody and charged with domestic assault. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will make a court appearance on March 24.

Man Indicted for Sexual Battery Pleads to Simple Assault

March 24, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

A 40 year old man, indicted on a charge of sexual battery by an authority figure in 2014, entered a plea by criminal information to a lesser charge of simple assault on Monday, March 21 in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

Joseph Brandon Proctor received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days. He was granted judicial diversion and will be on supervised probation.

Proctor was named in a sealed indictment returned by the Grand Jury in April 2014 accusing him of having had sexual contact with an underage victim between April 1 and 30, 2013. At the time he was alleged to have had parental or custodial authority over the victim.

Proctor did not admit to the charge as indicted under this plea agreement.

The criminal information alleges that between April 1, 2013 and April 30, 2013 he did knowingly, intentionally, and or recklessly cause bodily injury to a minor, constituting the offense of assault.

In other cases, 34 year old Shawn Keith Buck entered a plea by criminal information to attempted aggravated assault and received a two year sentence on supervised probation. He must undergo domestic violence counseling and attend parenting classes. He was given 28 days of jail credit.

Smithville Police said that on Friday, February 19 officers were called to a residence where Buck had allegedly tried to choke his victim leaving a mark on that person's neck. Buck had left the scene before the officers' arrival. Upon questioning the witnesses police determined that Buck was responsible for the assault and a warrant was issued for his arrest. Buck later turned himself in on the warrant.

48 year old Gerald Brown entered a plea by criminal information to evading arrest and received a two year suspended sentence after serving 180 days. The sentence is to run consecutive to a White County case against him. He has been given jail credit for 130 days. According to the warrant, on November 12, 2015 while operating a motor vehicle, Brown intentionally fled or tried to elude Trooper Jeremy D.S. Tramel of the Tennessee Highway Patrol after he received a signal from the trooper to bring the vehicle to a stop.

50 year old Nohemi Sosa Brown entered a plea by criminal information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days but she has been granted judicial diversion probation supervised by CPS.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Sunday, December 13, 2015 a deputy was traveling on Highway 70 when he spotted a red Chevy car in front of him cross the yellow line several times as well as the turning lane. After making a traffic stop the officer spoke with the driver, Brown and detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the vehicle. Brown's speech was slurred and slow. She submitted to field sobriety tasks but performed poorly. She also took a blood/alcohol test.

43 year old Francisco Monzon Lopez entered a plea by criminal information to reckless driving and received a six month sentence on supervised probation by CPS. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, December 6, 2015 while on patrol a deputy spotted an automobile with its lights on and engine running in the parking lot of Jewel's Market on South Congress Boulevard. The officer stopped and spoke with the driver, Lopez. Two bottles of liquor with the seal broken on them were within arms reach of the driver. He had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. His eyes were glazed and his speech was slurred. Lopez had in his possession a loaded 22 caliber rifle. He refused to submit to field sobriety tasks and a blood alcohol test. Lopez was placed under arrest.

35 year old Brandon Ryan Haggard entered a plea by criminal information to simple possession and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation by CPS. The sentence is to run concurrently with a DeKalb County violation of probation against him. Haggard was arrested on January 7. Smithville Police initiated a traffic stop on Luttrell Avenue after spotting a vehicle with a right tail light that was not operational. Officers spoke with the driver, Haggard and a computer check with Central Dispatch revealed that his license were revoked for driving under the influence. As Haggard was exiting the vehicle, officers noticed a baggie of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana sticking out of his front pocket.

45 year old Raquel Balderas entered a plea by criminal information to reckless driving and violation of the implied consent law and received a six month sentence on probation supervised by CPS. She will lose her license for a year.

41 year old Federico Torres entered a plea by criminal information to driving on a revoked license and received a six month sentence on supervised probation by CPS.

40 year old Darrell Wayne Crook entered a plea to resisting arrest and received a six month sentence. He was granted judicial diversion and will be on supervised probation. Smithville Police said that on Sunday, February 22, 2015 officers were dispatched to a residence on Oak Street. Upon arrival, an officer learned that Crook had been in an altercation with a woman over money which became physical. The woman suffered a cut and was bleeding from her hand. When the officer tried to place Crook under arrest, he resisted and had to be taken to the ground. A domestic assault charge against him was dismissed due to the plea for resisting arrest.

DeKalb ECD Board Presents Plaque of Appreciation to Elmer Ellis, Jr.

March 23, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Brad Mullinax,  DeKalb County ECD Director presents plaque to Elmer Ellis Jr.

Members of the DeKalb County Emergency Communications District Board of Directors presented a plaque to former fellow board member and First District County Commissioner Elmer Ellis, Jr. during their regular meeting Tuesday evening.

Ellis was a member of the DeKalb ECD Board. He recently resigned his position with the board and as county commissioner.

The plaque reads "For eight years of dedicated service to the DeKalb County ECD Board of Directors. The leadership you have provided has been instrumental in making DeKalb County 911 one of the best 911 agencies in the state. We appreciate your service to our Board and the 911 community. You have been a valuable asset to our organization and to the citizens of DeKalb County.

Awarded this 22nd day of March, 2016"

The plaque was presented to Ellis by Brad Mullinax, DeKalb County ECD Director

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