17-2 run sparks Lady Red Hawks; teams head to tourneys

A 17-2 run in the first quarter gave the Creek Wood Lady Red Hawks a lead they would never give up for a 63-40 win over Montgomery Central in Charlotte Thursday. Timely free throws in the fourth period helped the Indians pull away from Creek Wood for a 54-41 District 11-AA victory. The Lady Red Hawks bounced back from their first district loss to Lewis County to stand 4-1 in the conference. The Red Hawks dropped their second consecutive decision to fall to 2-3 in the district. After a pair of three-pointers by the Lady Indians tied the game early 6-6, Creek Wood hit fives treys and Sam Kilian came off the bench with 7 points to spark a 17-2 run to put the Lady Red Hawks firmly in control 23-8. The lead grew to 20 points by halftime, 38-18. Taylor Moore’s 8 points in the third pushed the margin to 55-32 and the 23-point margin stood to the final buzzer. Moore led Creek Wood with 17 points including 5 three-pointers. Raegan Hohl hit 4 treys in her 16 points. Kilian finished with 11 and Lydia Edmondson scored 10. The Red Hawks overcame some early foul trouble to trail the Indians 22-21 at halftime. Coulter Dotson had 10 points in the first quarter and Anthony Neblett stepped up with all 9 of the Red Hawks’ points in the second period. Montgomery Central managed to pad the difference to four heading into the fourth where the Indians connected on 10 free throws to ice the 13-point win. Dotson finished with 24 and Neblett added 11. Dickson County High School will host a pair of non-district doubleheaders with a visit from Beech tonight and the rescheduled games against Harpeth at 2:30 Saturday. Teams head into holiday tournaments next week. The Red Hawks will face Rossview at 8:30 pm Monday in the Rossview Roundball Christmas Tournament. The winner meets the Cheatham County-Central Magnet winner at 8:30 Tuesday while the losers play each other at 2:30. The tournament concludes Wednesday. The Lady Red Hawks will play in the Dyersburg Christmas Classic, taking on Bolivar at noon Monday and the host Lady Trojans at noon Tuesday. The Cougars travel to Columbia where they will play Martin Luther King at 3:30 Monday and Wilson Central at 6:30 Tuesday. The Lady Cougars are off until the Above the Rim Christmas Invitational at Hickman County Dec. 28. Dickson County-Beech will be live tonight on WDKN and 101.5 The One FM, wdkn.com, 1015theone.com and the WDKN app with coverage beginning with the A-1 Signs Pregame Show at 5:45. Dickson County-Harpeth will be live on the RFC Sports Network Saturday with coverage beginning at 2:15.

Dickson council considers changes to beer ordinance language

The Dickson City Council is considering changes to language in its municipal code regarding the definition of a church and criminal offenses that could prevent someone from obtaining a beer permit. At the recent Finance and Management Committee meeting, city attorney Jerry Smith said the city has been working with the University of Tennessee’s Municipal Technical Advisory Service to review its beer ordinances to see if clarification is needed to help in considering future beer permit applications. Smith identified two sections of the code that he believes could be changed. The first section he addressed is the code’s definition of a church with regard to the city’s 400-foot distance requirement. The code currently identifies a church as a place where religious services are held at least once a week, the premises are occupied for church purposes exclusively and the church is exempt from taxation by the Internal Revenue Code. Smith suggested the council could consider adding a requirement that the church own the property in question. Smith said churches are more frequently starting up in “storefronts” that would prevent retail spaces within the 400-foot distance from getting a beer permit, only to see those churches close or move. By adding a requirement that the church own the property, Smith said it would provide more permanency before excluding locations. The code currently provides that if a church opens within 400 feet of a location that already had a beer permit as of Jan. 1, 1993, it will not preclude that location from having a beer permit unless the beer permit is inactive for six consecutive months. Smith also suggested adding a list of specific criminal offenses for which a conviction would make someone ineligible to hold a beer license. The city’s code currently says no permit shall be issued to any person “convicted for the possession, sale, manufacture or transportation of intoxicating liquor or any crime involving moral turpitude within the past 10 years.” Smith said in 1976 the Tennessee Supreme Court stopped using crimes involving moral turpitude because “it has no satisfactory definition” and is an “inexact standard.” Smith suggested the council should consider changing the language to include a list of specific crimes that would be exclusionary for beer permits. As an example, he presented council members with a copy of Gallatin’s ordinance that identifies those crimes as any misdemeanor conviction involving the misuse of alcohol or drugs within two years or felonies involving alcohol or drugs within 10 years. Most recently, the council denied a beer permit for an applicant who had a DUI conviction, even though Smith advised that would not meet the definition of exclusionary crimes under the city’s current ordinance. The council subsequently issued a permit for that same business under the applicant’s wife’s name. Smith said the courts have found that moral turpitude is “vague and hard to define” and suggested changing to language specifically listing crimes that would be included. The committee voted to have Smith prepare amendments to the beer ordinances addressing the issues he identified to be considered at a future council meeting.

CWHS looks to bounce back against Central tonight

Creek Wood High School looks to bounce back from a pair of district losses when it hosts Montgomery Central tonight. The Lady Red Hawks suffered their first District 11-AA loss at Lewis County Friday night while the Panthers’ sweep left the Red Hawks 2-2 in the conference. Following tonight’s 6 pm doubleheader in Charlotte, the Red Hawks and Lady Red Hawks will head different directions for holiday tournaments next week. The Red Hawks travel to Clarksville where they will play the host Hawks in the Rossview Roundball Christmas Classic at 8:30 pm Monday. A loss means a 2:30 consolation bracket game Tuesday while the winner advances to an 8:30 pm game against the Cheatham County-Central Magnet winner. The tournament concludes Wednesday. The Lady Red Hawks head to a classic in Dyersburg where they will play Bolivar at noon Monday and the host Lady Trojans at noon Tuesday. Dickson County High School hosts Beech Friday and Harpeth Saturday, before the Cougars head to a holiday tournament in Columbia next week, taking on Martin Luther King at 3:30 pm Monday and Wilson Central at 6:30 pm Tuesday. Creek Wood-Montgomery Central will be live on WDKN and 101.5 The One FM, their streams and apps starting with the A-1 Signs Pregame Show at 5:45.

Niles’ trial for double murder scheduled for Dec. 4, 2017

Firefighters at the scene of an April 14, 2015, fire in a duplex on McFarland Lane in Dickson.
Firefighters at the scene of an April 14, 2015, fire in a duplex on McFarland Lane in Dickson.
Lisa 'Mickey' McDonald and Chris Goldtrap (from Facebook)
Lisa ‘Mickey’ McDonald and Chris Goldtrap (from Facebook)
Kenneth Ray Niles
Kenneth Ray Niles

The trial of a man for killing a young couple and setting fire to their apartment has been scheduled for a year from now. During a hearing in Dickson County Circuit Court Tuesday, Judge Suzanne Lockert-Mash scheduled the murder trial of 38-year-old Kenneth Ray Niles for Dec. 4, 2017. In the first hearing with Niles’ new attorneys, Lockert-Mash set a deadline for discovery to be turned over and set two dates for any potential pretrial motions. In October, Lockert-Mash appointed Nashville attorneys Paul Bruno and John G. Oliva to represent Niles after District Attorney Ray Crouch Jr. filed notice that he intends to seek the death penalty if Niles is convicted. Niles is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of felony murder, aggravated arson, especially aggravated robbery, especially aggravated burglary and theft for the April 2015 deaths of 27-year-old John Christopher Goldtrap and 23-year-old Lisa Wade Mackenzie McDonald. Niles was arrested in May 2015 after Goldtrap and McDonald’s bodies were discovered in a burning duplex on McFarland Land in Dickson. Autopsies revealed both victims had been shot in the head. Niles originally was scheduled to stand trial June 6 but it was continued when the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended the law license of Centerville attorney Kenneth Crites, who had been hired by Niles. Lockert-Mash appointed Dickson attorney Jerred Creasy to represent Niles, but Creasy withdrew in July because of a conflict from having previously represented a witness in the case. Lockert-Mash appointed Clarksville attorney Chase T. Smith and set Niles’ trial for Dec. 5. But Smith withdrew in October after the notice filed by the DA because he is not qualified to represent a defendant in a death penalty case under Tennessee law. Lockert-Mash appointed Bruno as primary counsel and Oliva as co-counsel and set a hearing to issue a scheduling order for Tuesday. Lockert-Mash met with Bruno, Oliva and Crouch in chambers before taking the bench. Bruno said the defense has received discovery from the DA’s office and Crouch said he believes the prosecution has turned over all its evidence. Lockert-Mash set a deadline of Feb. 28 for any remaining discovery to be provided. She scheduled hearings on any pretrial motions for April 7 and Sept. 8 and scheduled the trial for Dec. 4, 2017. While Bruno said the defense has not yet determined its case and potential witnesses, Crouch estimated the trial could take as much as two weeks, including jury selection. Lockert-Mash said she would schedule the trial for the two weeks but also keep the following week’s docket open in case it takes more time. During Tuesday’s hearing, Bruno did not discuss with the judge the possibility of moving Niles, who is being held without bond in the Montgomery County Jail. Lockert-Mash is scheduled to be off the bench in January and February for knee surgery and retired Judge George Sexton has been appointed to preside over her dockets during her absence. Investigators say Niles reportedly argued with Goldtrap, who was a cousin by marriage, the day before the bodies were discovered. They believe Niles shot the couple the night of April 13, 2015, and stole firearms, accessories and ammunition, then returned early the next morning to set the duplex on fire to cover up the crimes. Investigators have not ruled out the possibility that another person or persons were involved in the crime, but at this point nobody else has been charged. While there are 12 pending homicide trials in Dickson County, Niles is the only defendant facing the death penalty at this time.

Board addresses concerns over Burns school plan

Dickson County School Board Chairman Tim Potter responds to questions at an informational session on the plan for a new middle/high school in Burns.
Dickson County School Board Chairman Tim Potter responds to questions at an informational session on the plan for a new middle/high school in Burns.

Questions about how a new middle/high school in Burns would affect student zoning and concerns about the proposed location’s impact on traffic and neighbors dominated the discussion at the Dickson County School Board’s second informational session on its building program at Oakmont Elementary School Tuesday night. About 40 people, many of them educators, heard board Chairman Tim Potter and Director of Schools Dr. Danny Weeks outline the general plan for the new school proposed to open in August 2019 on Highway 96 in Burns. Potter said many of the details of answers to questions will have to be determined once the Dickson County Commission makes a decision on whether to fund the new school. He said he hopes to make a comprehensive building program presentation to the commission in January. Five of six school board members and two of 12 county commissioners were in attendance Tuesday. Weeks said the plan is to open the new school with about 150 students in each grade. With an average of around 100 fifth graders coming out of Stuart-Burns Elementary School each year, Weeks said another 50 students would be rezoned primarily from the Oakmont zone to attend the new school. Potter said whether those students attend Oakmont through grade five and then go to the new middle school or are rezoned to Stuart-Burns to be a part of that cluster still must be determined. Stuart-Burns is proposed to get additional classrooms as part of the building program. As in last week’s first meeting in Burns, several people who live near the proposed school site identified as the McCall property raised concerns over the impact the school could have on their properties, what noise issues there could be and how the school will affect traffic, especially on Eastside Road where the two primary entrances to the school are proposed. At Monday night’s work session, the board’s architects discussed constructing berms and using trees and other vegetation to create a natural buffer between the school and homes. While saying he understands the concerns of some of the area residents, Potter said the school board’s job is to do what it believes is in the best interest of education in Dickson County. For more than 10 years, the school board has discussed the need for a new middle school to reduce the student population at Dickson Middle School. Counting the sixth graders at Dickson Intermediate School, there are about 1,200 students in the DMS cluster while Charlotte Middle has around 400 and William James Middle is at 300. Potter said moving some DMS students to a Burns school would allow the sixth graders to return to the main campus and leave the current Dickson Intermediate building for other uses, most likely as an elementary school that could replace Dickson Elementary and/or The Discovery School. The resulting domino effect of the new Burns school could create savings in other areas of the budget to offset some of the anticipated revenue needs for the new school. Potter said he doesn’t know from where the money to operate the Burns school will come, but also believes there is not enough information right now to determine how much additional revenue will be required. While the original plan started with just a middle school, Potter said the board no longer believes a middle school is the “optimal thing to do.” By building a middle/high school, the system addresses population and zoning issues affecting Dickson County and Creek Wood high schools. If just a middle school is built, those Burns students likely will be zoned to Creek Wood and the county will be transporting students from the south end of the county to Charlotte. Weeks said there are “a lot of efficiencies” in building a middle/high school that would share core facilities. The preliminary design presented by architects Monday night does allow for the school to be scaled back to just a middle school should the county commission decline to fund a middle/high school. But Potter said the board’s commitment is to a middle/high school in the Burns area to open in 2019 with the project including renovations and expansions at Oakmont, Stuart-Burns and White Bluff elementary schools. Weeks has said the board could hold another informational session to continue presenting its plans to the public sometime after the first of the year. Potter said he plans to meet with Mayor Bob Rial to discuss scheduling a special meeting for the school board to present its plan to the county commission.