Traffic Deaths in DeKalb County Up from Last Year

Four people have lost their lives in fatal crashes on DeKalb County roads in 2015. That’s up from three in 2014.
Two of the fatalities occurred in April. The others died in July and October.
83 year old Robbie D. Taylor of Smithville died in a two vehicle crash Monday afternoon, April 6 at the intersection of Highways 70 and 83 near Kilgore’s Restaurant.
72 year old Edgar Louis Madewell of McMinnville was killed and three other people were injured in a three vehicle wreck Tuesday, April 21 on Highway 56 just south of the Magness Road intersection.
66 year old Floyd Tilley of Woodbury lost his life in a motorcycle crash late Wednesday night, July 15. He was traveling south on Short Mountain Highway near Lee Braswell Road when he left the road and struck a utility pole.
31 year old Tacy Hendrixson of Smithville died in a pickup truck accident Wednesday, October 28 on the Old Blue Springs Road.
Commissioner Bill Gibbons of the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security (TDOS&HS), Colonel Tracy Trott of the Tennessee Highway Patrol (THP), Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) Commissioner John Schroer and Governor’s Highway Safety Office (GHSO) Director Kendell Poole have announced the increase in seat belt fines as an effective additional tool to curb traffic fatalities in the state.
The State Legislature approved a bill during the 2015 session. As of January 1st, 2016 the fine for seat belt violations will more than double. The fine for a first offense seat belt violation will be raised to $25.00 and the second and subsequent offense will be $50.00.
“So far this year, state troopers have issued over 107,000 seat belt citations,” Commissioner Bill Gibbons said. “That is a 255 percent increase over the same time period in 2010. We will continue to make this a priority, but we hope the day will come when it is difficult for a state trooper to find a motorist not wearing a seat belt. We hope the tougher fines will encourage motorists to obey the law.”
Along with announcing the seatbelt fine increase, The TDOS&HS today announced a reminder that THP will be out in force during the holiday period to ensure travelers reach their destination safely. State troopers will focus their attention on traffic violations that place motorists in jeopardy, such as distracted driving, speeding, impaired driving and lack of seat belt usage. The holiday enforcement period will begin at 12:01 a.m. on December 24th and conclude at midnight on December 27th.
The holiday season is one of the deadliest and most dangerous times of the year due to an increase in impaired driving. The THP will utilize several enforcement tools, including saturation patrols, bar and tavern checks, and driver license and sobriety checkpoints to help reduce serious injury and fatal crashes over the holiday season.
“We care about you and your safety,” Colonel Tracy Trott said. “What we are hoping to accomplish with the fine increase is a heightened sense of awareness among our motorists. The best safety tool that a driver or passenger has while riding in a vehicle is to wear his or injured or killed in a car crash. Wearing a seat belt is the most effective way to prevent death and serious injury in a crash. One life lost due to not wearing a seat belt is one life to many.”
Designating a sober driver and not letting friends drive drunk are just two of the several simple steps to help avoid a tragic crash or an arrest for impaired driving. Important tips include:
• Whenever you plan on consuming alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys;
• If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely;
• Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to the Tennessee Highway Patrol by dialing *THP;
• Wear your seat belt or use protective gear on your motorcycle as your best defense against an impaired driver; and
• Remember, Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take the person’s keys and help him or her make other arrangements.
“We are very thankful for the friendships and partnerships that TDOT has with the Department of Safety and our state troopers,” Commissioner John Schroer said. “We understand that it takes all hands on deck to ensure a safer Tennessee, and the seat belt fine increase will help state troopers and local law enforcement in their efforts”.
TDOT will be suspending lane closures beginning at midnight on Wednesday, December 23rd until 9:00 a.m. on Monday, January 4th.
During the 2014 Christmas holiday, seven people were killed on Tennessee roadways in seven fatal crashes. Alcohol was involved in 71.4 percent of those crashes, and three of the six vehicle occupants killed were not wearing seat belts. There was also one pedestrian killed during the 96-hour holiday period.

Corps Announces Changes in Recreation Day Use Fees

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) announced today that beginning Jan. 1, 2016, the recreation day use fees charged for boat launches and swimming beaches managed by USACE will change to a simpler fee structure. The fee for a USACE annual pass to these facilities will also change.
These fees were last changed in 2002.
Floating Mill, Ragland Bottom, and Long Branch Campground at Center Hill Lake will also see a change in camping fees and the fee for a Special Use Permit, which covers events, facilities and activities.
USACE conducted a review of its fee structure earlier this year and determined that fee changes are needed to ensure USACE fees remain comparable and fair to those charged by other local providers for similar facilities and services.
The day use fee structure at USACE-managed facilities will vary depending upon the comparability study conducted by each USACE project, but the minimum day use fees beginning in January will be as follows:
•Minimum day use fee of $5.00 will be charged per private non-commercial vehicle.
•Minimum day use fee of $2.00 per adult for walk-in or bike-in.
•Minimum day use fee of $20.00 will be charged per bus or commercial vehicle.
•Children under the age of 16 are not charged a day use fee.
Payment of the day use fee entitles the user to launch a boat or use any developed swimming beach at a USACE-operated recreation area for that day.
A USACE annual day use pass may be purchased for $40, which permits the holder and accompanying passengers the daily use of facilities managed by USACE for one calendar year. The public will also be able to obtain Interagency America the Beautiful Passes at more than 240 USACE projects across the country.
For information on the new fee structure, visitors should contact their local USACE recreation project. A directory of project offices is available at
USACE is the nation’s largest federal provider of outdoor recreation, managing more than 400 lake and river projects in 43 states and hosting more than 370 million visits per year. With 90 percent of these recreation areas within 50 miles of metropolitan areas they provide a diverse range of outdoor activities close to home and to people of all ages.

Patterson Accused of Threatening Woman and Child with Knife

The Sheriff’s Department has arrested a 46 year old man for allegedly threatening a woman and child with a knife.
Christopher Neal Patterson of Big Hickory Court, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 28.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, December 17 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Big Hickory Court due to a domestic assault. Upon arrival the officer questioned a woman who said that Patterson had put a knife to her throat and said he would kill her and their youngest son. Patterson was placed under arrest.
Meanwhile 26 year old Nicholas Paul Benedict of South Judkins Lane, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. He was also issued citations for simple possession of schedule II & III drugs. His bond is $5,000 and he will make a court appearance on January 7. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, December 18 Benedict allegedly assaulted his girlfriend by hitting her in the abdomen area with a broom handle. He also allegedly grabbed and shoved her into a wall. The woman had physical marks from the assault. Benedict was placed under arrest. Upon a search of his person, Benedict was found to have in his possession a small green container that held one-three quarter peach colored pill believed to be suboxone and one and a quarter white pill thought to be hydrocodone.
45 year old Keith Alan Crum of Wolf Creek Road, Silver Point is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,000 and he will be in court February 25. Sheriff Ray said that on October 25 a deputy was dispatched to a residence on Wolf Creek Road due to a domestic incident between Crum and a woman. Upon arrival the officer learned that Crum had left the area. The victim said Crum had grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into a wall causing scratches and slight bleeding to her neck. The woman said she was afraid that Crum would return home and cause her further bodily harm. Crum was arrested on December 16.
68 year old Lamar Freeman Jackson, Jr. of Farewell Road, Dowelltown is charged with driving under the influence. He was further issued citations for no insurance, possession of drug paraphernalia, and due care. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on January 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, December 16 a deputy responded to a wreck on Nashville Highway. Upon arrival the officer spoke with the driver, Jackson who was unsteady on his feet. Jackson’s speech was slurred and he was unaware of his surroundings. Jackson had run his 1995 Mercury Grand Marquis off an embankment. Jackson told the officer that he had taken prescription medication and smoked marijuana. The officer found two pipes containing a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana in the car. Jackson could not provide proof of insurance. He submitted to and performed poorly on field sobriety tasks and also consented to a blood test. Jackson was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.
26 year old Matthew Tyler Hale of Walker Drive, Smithville is charged with violating an order of protection. Sheriff Ray said that Hale is the respondent on an order of protection that was served on the morning of December 15 and violated the order that day by contacting the petitioner multiple times by cell phone from approximately 10:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court January 7.

Chris Russell Named Alexandria Police Chief

Alexandria has a new Chief of Police.
Chris Russell, who has been serving as interim chief for the past month, was officially named chief during Tuesday night’s regular monthly meeting of the Alexandria Mayor and Board of Aldermen. He was sworn in by City Attorney Vester Parsley.
Russell told WJLE after the meeting that he looks forward to continue serving the people of Alexandria in this new role. “I’ve been with the Alexandria Police Department for a little over nine years now. I’ve been in law enforcement for going on seventeen years. Since I’ve been here I started as a patrolman and got promoted to sergeant and have been in that position for the last eight years,” said Chief Russell.
“As a department we’re going to continue to work on the drug problem in the community. I think that (drugs) leads to other crimes as far as burglaries, assaults and things like that so this is going to be our main focus,” he said.
In addition to Chief Russell, the Alexandria Police Department is made up of officers Dillon Hulse and Travis Hawkins. ” Dillon Hulse has been with us for about three months now. Our newest officer is Travis Hawkins. He just started within the last month. Both men have completed training at the state law enforcement academy,” Chief Russell continued.
“I just look forward to continue serving the community. If anybody has any concerns, feel free to come to me and address them and we’ll see what we can do for you,” he concluded.
The aldermen officially hired Hawkins as an officer during Tuesday night’s meeting. Both Hulse and Hawkins are from Wilson County.
Meanwhile, the aldermen voted to appoint Randy Payne as alderman to fill a position left vacant by Pat Jackson who has resigned. Payne was sworn into office by City Attorney Vester Parsley.

David “Larry” Hilderman

David “Larry” Hilderman age 82 of Smithville and a native of Florida passed away Sunday afternoon December 20, 2015 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He was born September 28, 1933 to his parents, the lated David and Anna Louise Creech Hilderman, Jr. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Michael Stanley Hilderman and a brother, Jimmy Hilderman. Larry was retired from Bell South as a switch man, attended New Life United Pentecostal Church and a U.S. Army Veteran. Survivors include his wife of 54 years, Lois Hilderman of Smithville; 3 children, Judy Lynn (Robert) Howard of Oak Grove, Missouri, Bobby (Cindy) Hildreman of Columbia, IN, Wendell Hilderman of Sevierville, TN; 5 grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren; 1 sister, Mary Lou Evans of West Palm Beech, FL; 1 brother, Donald Hilderman of Florida; several nieces and nephews also survive. Funeral services will be conducted 2PM Wednesday, December 23, 2015 at DeKalb Funeral Chapel with Bro. Dwayne Cornelius officiating and burial to follow in DeKalb Cemetery with military honors conducted by the Veterans Honor Guard. Visitation with the family will be on Tuesday 4:PM until 8:PM and Wednesday 11 AM until the time of the service at 2:PM. DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

DeKalb Man Charged in Florida Pharmacy Burglary

A DeKalb County man, who tried to flee from Florida authorities after allegedly breaking into a pharmacy, was arrested last month after crashing his vehicle during a pursuit.
37 year old Jason Cripps, at last report, was being held in the Indian River County Jail in Florida on $61,000 bond charged with felony burglary of a structure, possession of burglary tools, criminal mischief and resisting arrest without violence.
Early Saturday morning, November 28 the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the CVS Pharmacy security team that the store located at 53rd Street and US Highway 1 was being broken into. The CVS security team advised that a white van with a ladder rack was seen fleeing from the location. Deputy Christian Mathisen observed the vehicle northbound on US Highway 1 and attempted to stop it. The white van fled from him and eventually crashed into a wooded area, where the driver, Jason Cripps was apprehended.

J. E. Young

J. E. Young was born on June 23, 1941 and passed away on Dec. 19, 2015. He was born in Sparta, TN to Winifred and Edna Young.
He served in the Army from 1961-1964. He was a retired truck driver.
He is survived by his loving, devoted wife of 52 years, Jane Young. Also by his children Steve Young, Jeff (Wendy) Young, and Jana (Mickey) Beck; Grandchildren Steven Brock Young, Tyler and Seth Beck, Samantha Haughertz, and Cameron Wilkins; Great-grandson Wyatt Young, brother Winifred Young, Jr. and step-sister Sandra, and many nieces and nephews.
The family would like to give a special thanks to Dr. Kristen Ancell at Nashville VA, Dr. Peter C. Meadows of St. Thomas Rutherford Hospital, Dr. Karen Leidy of Murfreesboro VA, and the nurses at Alive Hospice.
If sending flowers, please try to send small plants so they can be donated after the service. Visitation will be held at Murfreesboro Funeral Home on Wednesday, December 23, 2015 from 11am until 1pm, with a Memorial Service to follow. Arrangements handled by Murfreesboro Funeral Home. 615-896-2229

Alexandria Man Seeks Support for a Garden Park

An Alexandria man is seeking donations and volunteers to develop a community garden park on property owned by the Town of Alexandria.
Ricky Harris has already received permission from the Alexandria Mayor and Aldermen to proceed with the project. “I would like to do a revitalization of the old park behind the Osborne grocery store. Its roughly right at four acres. It’s actually been untouched for a little over 20 years. It’s just an overgrowth field,” Harris told WJLE.
At first Harris thought about doing something on a smaller scale as a way of giving back to his community but later decided on a garden park because it would serve a greater number of people. “I serve on the Board for my church the First Baptist Church of Alexandria for Community Projects. What I was originally thinking was to reach out to four or five families and maybe try to do some yard work and that sort of thing. But it occurred to me that we had a bigger project at hand that would affect the whole community,” he said.
Although work has begun to clear the property from brush and overgrowth, Harris said more help is needed. ” The first phase is to get the property clear. I’ve actually already went in and done some clearing. We’ve cleared the lower bottom part of it now and opened it up. Right now I’m primarily doing it with volunteers so I’m looking for volunteers to help me. Saturday, January 2 is the actual kick-off date. That’s the date we want volunteers to come out and start helping with chainsaws and clearing some more of the brush back. I figured January 2 would be a good day starting the new year,” Harris continued.
Once the land is cleared, Harris hopes to develop the park for all ages to enjoy. ” I want to open up the park itself for the community. The overall goal is to put in picnic tables and a walking trail with a bridge over a brook that’s already there. There is a pad for basketball goals. But I would eventually like to have a place for the kids to come and be a part of a garden that we want to put in. A raised bed garden. There’s actually a push that has been going on in Tennessee if you watch PBS. It’s called Pick Green Tennessee. There’s been projects throughout the whole state. I know one that has taken place in Chattanooga where they took some land and opened it up. They went in and re-did it putting in a garden which got kids off the street and gave them something hands on to do to help them stay out of trouble so to speak but it also gave them a place to go and reunite with others and talk about their issues. They can reap what they sow as well and help feed their families,” said Harris.
Anyone who would like to volunteer or give a donation to the effort is welcome to do so. “We’re actually going to reach out to local businesses and also to the public. If anybody would like to make a monetary donation or help by donating materials they can talk to mayor Bennett Armstrong. Overall, probably $4,500 is what we need to cover it. We plan to do it in phases but we would like to have it done before Easter to do a community Easter Egg Hunt. If anyone wants to help they can contact me personally at 615- 306-9033,” Harris concluded.

Omega Apparel Announces the Grand Opening of New Nashville Design and Production Facility

Authentically American! Omega Apparel continues it 22-year long history of making apparel in the US with the opening of a new design and production facility in Nashville. Omega Apparel now occupies two Tennessee based facilities. A 100,000 square foot facility in Smithville and the new 20,000 square foot facility in Nashville. The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at 5225 Harding Place, Nashville, on Tuesday, January 12th at 10:45am. Mayor Barry will speak and participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new Nashville facility will showcase Omega’s new expanded capabilities; full service design and business consultation, and small batch production. “We are now able to service all customers large and small” shared Shelley Sarmiento, Chief Strategy Officer and Design Director. “Our newest Boutique Services model is focused on servicing the fashion community in Nashville. Our customer’s needs range from celebrity clothing lines, tactical khakis, plaid shirts, doll clothing, pet designs, and much more. Our goal is to enable our customers to go from initial concept to full production, all right here in Nashville and proudly claim 100% Made in USA.”
“The opening of Omega’s Nashville facility is a game changer for our regional fashion brands in Nashville” continued Van Tucker, CEO of the Nashville Fashion Alliance (NFA). “The proximity of the creative and manufacturing processes in the apparel industry is a critical component for emerging fashion brands. At every stage of development, the Omega Apparel Team have embraced our regional brands to help them find quality, affordable American manufacturing and conquer one of our key challenges as an industry.”
“The heart of our mission at Omega is creating jobs and building a great place to work. The opening of our new facility in Nashville will enable our goal of adding 1000+ jobs over the next 5-years. Omega Apparel is Authentically American and we will be a catalyst in rebuilding the US Apparel industry” proclaimed Dean Wegner, President and CEO.
Company Overview: Omega Apparel Incorporated is military veteran owned and the #1 supplier of dress trousers, slacks, and skirts for the US Military. Omega Apparel was founded in 1994 and now includes 4 Divisions: Military, Commercial, Omega Brand, and Private Label. Omega has a long history of always delivering on time and with the highest level of quality. Omega operates two Tennessee based production and design facilities in Nashville and Smithville. Omega is a principles and values based organization centered on 5 Foundations of Ownership, Customer, Quality, Efficiency, and Teamwork. Omega Apparel is both committed and proud to be 100% Made in the USA. To learn more visit

David Gipson

61 year old David Gipson of Sevierville died Thursday at LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville. He was retired from the Army National Guard with more than 27 years. He was also a Baptist and a former State Trooper and electrician. The funeral will be Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. at the Chapel of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home. Gaylon Dawson and Dean Gipson will officiate and burial will be in DeKalb Memorial Gardens with military honors. Visitation will be Tuesday from 3-8 p.m. and Wednesday from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. He was preceded in death by his wife, Kristie Cook Gipson; parents, Joe Gipson, Jr. and Ruby E, Shrum. Grandparents, Joe and Nelly Gipson, Sr. and Walden Shrum and Cora Drake. Survivors include a daughter, Misty and Tim Pomplun of Murfreesboro. Three step children, Justin and Mary Lohorn of Smithville, Darin and Cheyene Caldwell of McMinnville, and Erica and Austin Highers of Smithville. Six grandchildren. Four brothers, Billy Gipson of Murfreesboro, Larry and Kathy Gipson of Murfreesboro, Dean and Shirley Gipson of Shelbyville, and Rickey Gipson of Murfreesboro. Mother-in-law, Faye Cook of Smithville. Father-in-law, Eddie Cook of Smithville. Several aunts, uncles, nephews, and nieces, and his dog Bella. Love-Cantrell Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.