Local News Articles

DCHS Outstanding Underclassmen Awarded

May 29, 2015
Dwayne Page
Tyree Cripps and Abby Evans
Rachel Fuson and Matthew Poss
Seth Wright

DeKalb County High School proudly announces the Outstanding Underclassmen of the 2014-2015 school year, a male and female from each grade level.

Freshmen - Tyree Cripps and Abby Evans

Sophomores - Matthew Poss and Rachel Fuson.

Juniors - Seth Wright and Morgan Vickers.

Not pictured is Morgan Vickers, Outstanding Junior girl, who was serving as a DCHS representative attending Girls State at David Lipscomb at the time the awards were presented.

Outstanding Underclassmen are nominated and voted on by the faculty of DCHS. These students stand out due to their academics, involvement in extracurricular activities, and Tiger Pride. Congratulations on this honor!!

School Board Includes New Spending Requests in Proposed Tentative Budget

May 29, 2015
Dwayne Page
School Board
School Board Members

In order to comply with a request by members of the county budget committee to have a proposed spending plan in their hands by the first of the month, the Board of Education Thursday night held a workshop and then met in special session to adopt a tentative budget for the 2015-16 school year. But unless the budget committee approves it as presented, the plan is likely to be changed.

The problem the board faces is that the school system is spending more than it takes in. Last year, the school board had to appropriate about $250,000 from its fund balance or reserves to cover expenses. At least the same is expected again this year even without adding new spending.

Still, knowing that the school system is possibly facing another deficit this year, the board Thursday night voted to add more spending to the proposed budget for next year, based on school needs including some required by the state, which according to Board Chairman W.J. (Dub) Evins, III would increase the anticipated budget deficit by $475,620.

The proposed budget includes new funding requests for a computer teacher at Smithville Elementary School, Response to Intervention (RTI) teachers at DeKalb Middle School and DCHS, a new janitor position at DeKalb West School, funds to cover extended contracts , a school nurse position, technology upgrades, among other proposed new expenditures. Response to Intervention (RTI) is a multi-tiered framework that schools can adopt to identify and help struggling learners — before they fail.

The board plans to provide members of the county budget committee an explanation as to why the new spending is needed hoping they will come up with the money to fund it.

If the budget committee turns down the proposed school budget, the Board of Education could be forced to make cuts.

Father and Son Charged in Assault Case

May 28, 2015
Dwayne Page
James Michael Carpenter
Michael Christian Carpenter
Mitchelle Lee Corso
Ashley Leann Frazier
Marco Mendez
Jeff David Weedman
Charles Ryan Riedley
Billy Dale Dobbs
Jimmy Chris Haggard

A father and son have been charged in an assault on the son's wife .

59 year old James Michael Carpenter of East Main Street, Liberty is charged with domestic assault. Carpenter is under a $2,500 bond and he will be in court June 4. His son, 30 year old Michael Christian Carpenter of East Main Street, Liberty is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on June 11.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, a deputy was called to a residence on East Main Street in Liberty for a physical domestic on Friday, May 22. Upon arrival, the officer spoke with the victim who said that her father-in-law (James) smacked her hand to knock away a phone. She added that Carpenter then grabbed her about the shoulders and tried to pull her from a vehicle.

Meanwhile, the woman claims that during the incident her husband (Michael) struck her about the head and shoulders, knocking her to the ground and threw a large rock at her while she was sitting in a car. The rock hit the driver side windshield causing substantial damage to the glass. The woman recorded the incident on a cell phone and showed the video to the officer. Sheriff Ray said the video corroborated the woman's statements and a copy of the recording was kept as evidence.

32 year old Jonathan Kyle McCormick of South College Street, Smithville is cited for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. He will make a court appearance June 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, May 20 a deputy found in McCormick's possession three hypodermic needles and two alprazolam pills (one milligram).

31 year old Henry Burt Turner, Jr. of Martin Drive, Liberty was cited for simple possession on Thursday, May 21. He will be in court on June 11. According to Sheriff Ray, a deputy spoke with Turner and during a search, found an alprazolam pill on his person and a small vial containing five diazepam pills.

39 year old Tyrone Dewayne Owens of Shady Drive, Smithville is cited for simple possession of schedule II & IV drugs. He will be in court July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, May 22 a deputy found Owens with three pill bottles in his front pocket containing two Oxycontin (20 milligram) pills, three Oxycodone (30 milligram) pills, and twenty six alprazolam (one milligram) pills. Owens had no prescription for any of the pills.

41 year old Kathyerine Michelle Carr of Sparta is cited for simple possession of schedule II drugs. Her court date is June 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 23 a detective stopped at a residence on Jacobs Pillar Road to speak with Carr. As she was getting out of her automobile, Carr dropped a syringe containing a yellow substance believed to be dilaudid. She also dropped three morphine pills. She had no prescription for the drugs.

49 year old Mitchelle Lee Corso of Nashville Highway, Liberty is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will make a court appearance on June 11. According to Sheriff Ray, Corso assaulted his wife at their residence on Tuesday, May 19 by throwing a glass steak sauce bottle which hit her in the left forearm area leaving physical markings.

26 year old Ashley Leann Frazier of Big Hickory Court, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. Her bond is $1,500 and she will be in court July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, May 19 a deputy was dispatched to the intersection of Short Mountain Highway and Whorton Springs Road in reference to a woman asleep in a ditch. The officer found and awoke Frazier who was asleep in a field beside the road on Short Mountain Highway. Frazier was unsteady on her feet and she had slurred speech. Frazier admitted to having taken medication and drinking about eight ounces of liquor. She was placed under arrest for her safety and that of the public.

22 year old Marco Mendez is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court June 4. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 23 Mendez assaulted his girlfriend by hitting her in the face with his hand, pulling her hair, and pushing her down on the ground.

51 year old Jeff David Weedman of Sparta is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued a citation for failure to maintain his lane of travel. Bond for Weedman is $1,500 and his court date is June 25. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 23 a deputy spotted a white Honda Accord leave its lane of travel on Allen Ferry Road. The officer stopped the car and spoke to the driver, Weedman whose speech was slurred. Weedman also had an odor of alcohol on him. According to Sheriff Ray, Weedman admitted to having consumed three beers. After performing poorly on field sobriety tasks, Weedman was placed under arrest.

27 year old Charles Ryan Riedley of Wildwood Drive, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for violation of the open container law, driving on roadways laned for traffic, a violation of the financial responsibility law, simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana), and violation of the implied consent law. His bond is $3,000 and he will be in court July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, May 24 a deputy observed a black truck leave its lane of travel multiple times. The officer stopped the truck and spoke with the driver, Riedley who had a strong odor of alcohol on him. Riedley's speech was slurred and he had bloodshot eyes. According to the officer, Riedley admitted to drinking and smoking marijuana. After performing poorly on field sobriety tasks, he was placed under arrest. Riedley refused to submit to a blood test and he could not provide proof of insurance. His first DUI conviction was November 27, 2007 in Rutherford County. During an inventory search of Riedley's vehicle, the officer found an open Bud Lite beer bottle and .1 grams of marijuana.

44 year old Billy Dale Dobbs of Baxter was arrested on Sunday, May 24 charged under a grand jury sealed indictment with manufacture of marijuana. His bond is $20,000 and he will be arraigned in criminal court on June 23.

Jimmy Chris Haggard of Baxter is charged with driving under the influence and reckless endangerment. He was further issued a citation for violation of the light law (head light out). His bond totals $3,000 and he will be in court July 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, May 25 a deputy stopped a dark colored SUV for a light law violation. Upon speaking to the driver, Haggard, the officer noticed a strong odor of alcohol on Haggard's person and that his eyes were bloodshot. Haggard admitted to having consumed seven beers. He performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and was arrested. In the vehicle with Haggard was his friend's eleven year old child. Haggard was charged with reckless endangerment for putting the child's life in danger by driving under the influence with the youngster in the SUV with him

Three Injured in Four Vehicle Crash

May 28, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Firefighters and EMS staff work to remove Steven Davidson, Jr. and  Stephanie Gray from Buick Lesabre after it was rear ended by a truck
Blue 1994 F150 driven by Robert Horton of Walling rear ends Buick Lesabre and then hits a 2011 Ford Fiesta before colliding with black F150 shown here
Blue Ford Fiesta (shown here), driven by 47 year old Jamye Atnip hit by Blue F150 driven by Robert Horton of Walling
All four vehicles involved in crash shown here

Three people were injured in a four vehicle accident Wednesday at the intersection of West Broad and Mountain Street in Smithville.

29 year old Steven Davidson, Jr. and 40 year old Stephanie Gray both of Smithville were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital and then airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. 70 year old Robert Horton of Walling, Tennessee was transported by ambulance to the local hospital for treatment.

According to Trooper Brandon Jackson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, Horton was east on Broad Street (Highway 70) in a blue F150 truck when he rear ended a 1991 Buick Lesabre, setting in the eastbound lane in front of him. The Buick, driven by Davidson, was stopped for the traffic light at the intersection. Trooper Jackson said Horton claims he accidentally accelerated instead of applying the brakes to stop.

After hitting the Buick, Horton's truck then crossed into the westbound turning lane on Broad Street and struck a blue 2011 Ford Fiesta, driven by 57 year old Jamye Atnip of Smithville. 29 year old Elizabeth Atnip of Smithville was a passenger with Jamye. Trooper Jackson said the Atnip car was stopped in the turning lane, waiting to turn left when it was hit head on.

Horton's truck then moved into the westbound lane and hit a black 2004 F150 driven by 18 year old Benjamin Curtis of Alexandria. Curtis was stopped at the traffic light.

Both Davidson and Gray were entrapped in their car requiring extrication by members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department.

Neither the Atnip's nor Curtis were injured in the wreck.

Horton was cited for driving on an expired license, failure to exercise due care, and failure to obey traffic instructions (light). Davidson was cited for driving while (license) suspended.

Smithville Police were also on the scene to assist.

Foundation for Education Grant Winners Named

May 27, 2015
Dwayne Page
Ally O'Connor, Cassandra Binkley, Jenny Norris, and Amanda Dakas

The recent DeKalb County Foundation for Education Classroom Grant winners have been announced from each school.

The winners are:

DCHS: Jeanine Cantrell, and Jenny Norris,

DeKalb West School: Lori Pryor

DeKalb Middle School: Cassandra Binkley, Suzette Barnes, and Amanda Dakas.

Smithville Elementary School: Ally O'Connor.

The DCFE is committed to excellence and education. The mission is to improve the education opportunities for our students. DeKalb County Schools appreciates the continued support of the Education Foundation and Barry and Lisa Butler.

Picture L-R
Ally O'Connor, Cassandra Binkley, Jenny Norris, and Amanda Dakas

TNDP Chair to Speak at DeKalb Election Season Kickoff Rally

May 27, 2015
Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP) Chair Mary Mancini

Tennessee Democratic Party (TNDP) Chair Mary Mancini will be the speaker at the DeKalb County Election Season Kickoff Rally to be held Saturday, June 6. The rally marks the start of the 2016 Election Season and will be held at 10 a.m., at the DeKalb County Courthouse basement, One Public Square, Smithville.

“We are thrilled to have Chair Mancini in attendance to help us kick off this Election Season,” said Jordan Wilkins, DeKalb County Democratic Party Chair. “This event is to bring like-minded people who share Democratic values together and discuss ways to show support for each other while strategizing on how we can be better represented whether it’s on the city council, county commission, at the legislature, in Congress or in the White House.”

Mancini will focus her speech about her vision to seat more state, county and local leaders.

“At the TNDP, we are working on engaging Democrats from all over the state and from all walks of life to get fired up and ready to go to register people to vote, knock on doors, call on their neighbors and friends to be an active participant in the Democratic process and be a part of our Get Out The Vote programs,” said Mancini. “The way GOP lawmakers voted this past legislative session shows we need a change in the legislature and this election cycle we will be focused on shoring up Democrats and engaging voters so we have elected officials who will advocate on behalf of Tennessee’s families on issues such as access to affordable health care, raising the minimum wage, retirement security and greater accountability in the public and private sectors.”

Smithville Police Department to Host Identity Theft Class

May 27, 2015
Dwayne Page
Smithville Police Captain Steven Leffew

The Smithville Police Department will host an identity theft class on Monday June 1st at 6:00 pm at the County Complex in the UT Extension room on South Congress Boulevard in a continued effort for public awareness.

The class will be instructed by Homeland Security. The class is open to the public and is free of charge. "Its heartbreaking when people come to the police department and they have been scammed out of the money that they have worked hard for," said Captain Steven Leffew. "We welcome everyone to come out and get some ideas on how to better protect you and your family".

Protecting Your Identity – What You Should Know, What You Should Do

Identity fraud is one of the fastest growing crimes in the world. It affects millions of victims each year and results in billions of dollars in losses for consumers, businesses, and financial institutions. It takes years to build one’s identity, but it could be destroyed very quickly if it is misused by someone.

This 1 hour presentation is intended to explain some common methods used by identity thieves, how to safeguard your identity, and what to do if you become a victim of identity theft

(UPDATED) Body Recovered From Center Hill Lake Identified as Justin Nicholas Roper

May 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
Justin Nicholas Roper

The body recovered from Center Hill Lake Memorial Day morning has been identified as the remains of a man reported missing on Saturday.

Dead is 31 year old Justin Nicholas Roper of Smithville.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, Central Dispatch was notified at 9:16 a.m. Monday by the TWRA that a body was found in the lake close to the Holiday Haven area. The body was recovered from the lake shortly thereafter by TWRA and a Detective from the Sheriff's Department.

A search began Saturday afternoon after a woman reported that her husband had gone missing at the Holiday Haven Boat Ramp. "On Saturday May 23rd at 12:05 p.m. DeKalb Central Dispatch received a call of a missing man at the Holiday Haven Boat Ramp. The complainant was the wife of the missing man. She reported that on Friday night, May 22nd she and her husband had spent the night in their vehicle at the boat ramp. According to the woman, her husband had walked down toward the boat ramp to go swimming and never returned. Deputies and a Detective with the Sheriff's Department arrived on the scene and started a missing person investigation. The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) and the Corps of Engineers were also notified and assisted in the search.

The case remains under investigation by the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department

DeKalb Farm Bureau Announces Poster Contest and Essay Winners

May 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
Poster Contest Winners
Essay Contest Winners

DeKalb Farm Bureau has announced the 2015 4th grade Poster Contest and 7th grade Essay Winners.

Poster Contest Winners for local 4th graders in the event titled "Where does our food come from?". Left to right: Cathy Officer, DeKalb Farm Bureau Women's Chairman, Ryder Miller - 1st Place winner of $25.00, Jacklyn Kleparek- 2nd place winner of $20.00, and Gloria Pinegar, Farm Bureau Secretary. (Not pictured: Jeanine Boody - 3rd place winner of $15.00) This is an annual contest open to all 4th graders. Ryder Miller's poster was submitted to the state contest to be judged in June.

Essay Contest Winners for local 7th graders. The subject for the essay was "What is a Farmer?" Pictured from left to right: Cathy Officer, Farm Bureau Women's Chairman, Creston Bain -1st place winner of $25.00, A. J. Crips - 2nd place winner of $20.00, Kayley Padilla-3rd place tie-winner of $15.00, Caden Close - 3rd place tie- winner of $15.00, and Gloria Pinegar, Farm Bureau Secretary. Creston Bain's essay was submitted to the state contest to be judged in June.

Nelson Enters "Best Interest" Plea to Coercion of Witness

May 26, 2015
Dwayne Page
Judge David Patterson

A 37 year old man charged with coercion of a witness was sentenced in DeKalb County Criminal Court Friday, May 22 after entering a best interest plea under a negotiated settlement.

Judge David Patterson presided.

Steven Anthony Nelson received a sentence of two years, all suspended to supervised probation by community corrections. He was given jail credit from July 8, 2014 to May 22, 2015. The term will run concurrently with a Grundy County sentence against him. His bond conditions shall be lifted to allow contact with a family member.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 a deputy was dispatched to the hospital where he spoke with a woman who reported that her husband, Nelson had come into her home while she slept. When she awoke, the woman found Nelson standing over her. Nelson allegedly got the woman out of bed and threatened her, saying that if she did not drop domestic assault warrants against him, his father would come to her home and shoot her in the face. Nelson continued making threats against the woman until she left the residence.

Nelson was previously arrested on Thursday, July 3, 2014 for the domestic assault of his wife.

37 year old Jason Cripps pled guilty to aggravated domestic assault and auto burglary. He received a four year sentence for the assault and two years for the burglary to run concurrently for a total of four years. The sentence has been suspended to supervised probation. Cripps was given jail credit of 228 days served. He is barred from having any contact with the victim.

Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, June 5, 2014 a deputy was dispatched to Cripps' residence on a domestic assault complaint. The officer spoke with a woman who said when she came home, her husband, Cripps was passed out on the back porch. After waking up, Cripps came into the house and an argument started. Cripps grabbed his wife by the neck, slammed her into the wall, and started choking her, causing red marks on her neck. He then left the house. Cripps was later arrested and charged with domestic assault and brought to the jail for booking.

Meanwhile, Smithville Police said that on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 officers responded to DeKalb Specialty Clinic on a complaint of an intoxicated person who had showed up at a doctor's office there. Upon arrival, the officer was told that Cripps had left but was seen walking toward the hospital.

The officer heard an auto alarm and found Cripps who had allegedly entered a Jeep Cherokee and was going through personal belongings and papers in the vehicle without the owner's consent. According to police, Cripps' speech was slurred and he was unsteady on his feet. Cripps was placed under arrest.

37 year old Gary Ashford pled guilty to sale of a schedule III drug and received a two year sentence all suspended to supervised probation. The term is to run consecutive to his current probation. Ashford was fined $2,000 and he must make restitution of ten dollars to the Alexandria Police Department. He was given jail credit from December 1, 2014 to January 25, 2015.

20 year old Thomas Nix was granted judicial diversion for two years after entering a plea to possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. The sentence is to be suspended to supervised probation. He was fined $2,000.

37 year old Stacey Ashford was granted judicial diversion for three years after entering a plea to delivery of a schedule IV drug. She was fined $2,000 and given jail credit from December 1, 2014 to January 21, 2015. Ashford will be on supervised probation.

32 year old Anthony Hawkins pled guilty by information to reckless endangerment and received a sentence of 11 months and 29 days on supervised probation.

34 year old Justin Lavaughn Westbrook pled guilty to driving on a suspended license and received a six month sentence all suspended to supervised probation. The case is to run concurrently with a Wilson County case against him.


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