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.

Emily Beard scores 32 in DCHS win over Summit

Emily Beard sparked the Dickson County Lady Cougars to a 62-50 win at Summit Tuesday night while the Cougars had no answer for the Spartans’ new dominating center in a 75-59 loss. Senior Beard had her best offensive night of the young season with a game-high 32 points, including 13 in the third quarter when the Lady Cougars took control. Dickson County jumped in front on a Ryann Roberts three-pointer in the second period and held the lead the rest of the way to its second District 11-AAA victory. Kailey Rosenbaum added 11 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. The Cougars had problems matching up with 6’9” Summit junior transfer Demontae Dixon, who finished with 23 points and an astounding 18 rebounds. Dickson County put together its most balanced offensive attack of the season with four players in double figures and used its speed and outside shooting to stay in the game. A Demontez Coleman jumper in the third period tied the game 43-43, but Summit went on an 11-0 run and Dickson County could never get any closer than 5 points the rest of the game. Freshman D.J. Stacey led the Cougars with 16 points while Coleman had 12 and Jacob Murphree and Darian Burns finished with 11 each. Dickson County returns home for a pair of non-district contests before heading into holiday tournaments. Beech visits Friday and the Harpeth games previously postponed have been reset for 2:30 pm Saturday. Creek Wood plays its fourth consecutive District 11-AA contests hosting Montgomery Central Thursday. The Red Hawks will play in a holiday tournament at Rossview next week while the Lady Red Hawks head to Dyersburg. The Cougars will be in action in Columbia.

JeQuan Lewis leads VCU comeback over Old Dominion

JeQuan Lewis (1) leads the VCU offense against Old Dominion under the watch of Will Wade.
JeQuan Lewis (1) leads the VCU offense against Old Dominion under the watch of Will Wade.

Former Cougar JeQuan Lewis scored 17 points to spark a second-half comeback in VCU’s 67-64 victory at Old Dominion Saturday. Lewis led the Rams with 20 points, including 12 in a 16-1 run that gave VCU the lead for good. The Rams trailed by 11 points with 7:37 left in the game when they scored 11 straight to tie the game 55-55. Lewis hit a three-pointer and capped the run with a four-point play to forge the game’s only tie. After the Monarchs retook the lead on a free throw, Lewis scored five straight points. The senior guard hit a layup to give VCU its first lead of the game and followed with a three-pointer to extend the margin to 60-56 and the Rams never trailed again. Lewis hit 6 of 11 from the floor, including 5 of 8 treys, and 3 of 4 free throws for his game-high 20 points. He added 2 rebounds, 2 steals and 1 assist. The Rams are 7-3 and Lewis leads the team with 14.9 points per game and 31.2 minutes per game, is shooting 45 for 99 from the floor and 30 for 63 on three-pointers, all team highs, is shooting a team-best 82.9 percent from the foul line and leads the team with 44 assists while his 15 steals are second on the team. VCU hosts Middle Tennessee State in Richmond Saturday.