Local News Articles

Randy Boyd Brings 95-County Bus Tour to Smithville

June 21, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb GOP Vice Chairman Clint Hall (left) greets Governor Candidate Randy Boyd as he arrived in Smithville Thursday on his 95 county bus tour across the state.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful Randy Boyd brought his 95-county bus tour to Smithville Thursday afternoon.

Boyd is seeking the Republican nomination for governor in the Aug. 2 GOP Primary.

He stressed his experience as a businessman as a primary qualification for becoming governor and noted that he is “not a career politician.”

As for the issues, Boyd said the people of Tennessee have several concerns.

“They want to know about what we are going to do for education; what we are going to do for our young people to get the training they need to get the jobs in the future and today; and they also want to make sure we are focusing on bringing jobs to their communities. Our economy is doing great in Tennessee but one of the things I worry about is that it is not doing great for everyone. There are certain parts of our state that are doing extremely well and others that feel like they are being left behind. As Governor, I want to represent those that are being left behind. Finally, we have questions about the opioid crisis. Everywhere we go it is decimating communities. People want us to take strong action,” said Boyd.

Over the course of the campaign, Boyd has traveled to all 95 counties, run 537.3 miles across the state from Bristol to Memphis, generated significant grassroots support, with endorsements from nearly 200 elected officials, and leads all other campaigns in fundraising. Boyd’s nine-week, all 95-county bus tour is the only one of its kind in recent gubernatorial campaign history.

“Just as we have during the campaign, we want to send a clear signal that as Governor, we will be working for all 95 counties to make sure no one is left behind,” said Boyd. “This 95-county bus tour is just one more way to show Tennessee voters that we will never stop working on their behalf to make Tennessee THE State of Opportunity for everyone.”

A successful entrepreneur, business, and philanthropic leader, Boyd is the founder and chairman of Radio Systems Corporation, which is headquartered in Knoxville. First launched out of the back of Boyd’s van, the company today produces more than 4,600 pet products under brand names such as Invisible Fence, PetSafe, and SportDOG, with more than 700 employees and annual revenues of nearly $500 million.

Boyd previously served in Governor Bill Haslam’s cabinet as the state Commissioner of Economic and Community Development, and earlier while serving as the Governor’s Special Advisor on Higher Education was the architect of the state’s Drive to 55 workforce development initiative, and the tnAchieves and Tennessee Promise scholarship programs to help more young people go to technical orcommunity college tuition-free.

Knoxville Man Sentenced For Auto Theft

June 21, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Bobby Joe Cooper

A Knoxville man arrested by Smithville Police for an auto theft which occurred in March was sentenced Tuesday in DeKalb County Criminal Court.

38 year old Bobby Joe Cooper entered a plea by criminal information to theft over $2,500 and received a two year sentence on TDOC probation. He must make restitution of $4,000 to the victim. He was given jail credit from April 1 through June 19.

Police were called to Walmart on March 16 where a man reported his vehicle had been stolen from the parking lot by a man he knew, Cooper, from the Sober Living House.

The victim said he had a chance encounter with Cooper at Walmart and that he (Cooper) had asked him for a ride. The victim said he told Cooper to wait until he got his shopping done. But after the victim finished his shopping and left the store he discovered his car was gone. The man told the officer that he left his keys in the ignition and suspected that Cooper had taken the vehicle. The victim said Cooper, who has a drug problem, had left Sober Living where he was residing. During the investigation, Police viewed surveillance video from Walmart and observed Cooper get into the car and drive away leaving the parking lot. A warrant was taken for Cooper's arrest and he was picked up on May 16.

Chamber Welcomes New Member

June 21, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chamber Welcomes New Member

Welcome New Chamber Member! The Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce had a Ribbon Cutting last week for Bright Hill, 1586 Bright Hill Road, Smithville. The owners are Rick and Karyn Walker. This Bed & Breakfast offers lots of southern hospitality and charm. Coming soon, Bright Hill will be offering Small Business Workshops, Art Workshops, Vision Board Workshops, and Small Weddings. For more information, check out their FaceBook page, see their Events Page at www.brighthilltn.com, or call 615-438-6062.

Tiger Baseball Standout Signs with Eastern Nazarene College

June 21, 2018
Paxton Butler signing on June 18, 2018. Shown from left to right are Jesse Smith, Caroline Butler, Ronda Butler, Leslie Watson, seated Paxton Butler, Madison Butler, Dennis Butler and Stephenee Clayton

DCHS Tiger Paxton Butler signed a letter of commitment on June 18, 2018 to play NCAA baseball for Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy Massachusetts after his official campus visit June 11, 2018. Butler was awarded $72,000 in scholarships and grant from ENC. Butler will major in Environmental Science and earn his bachelors degree while attending the New England college. Paxton is the son of Ronda Butler of Smithville and Dennis Butler of Sparta.

Eastern Nazarene is a Private Christian Liberal Arts College on Boston’s south shores. BestColleges.com recently ranked ENC as #20 on its list of best colleges in the state, joining Harvard (#1) and MIT (#2) on the list.

Wilkey Gets Four Year Prison Term for Sex Crime

June 20, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Roy Junior Wilkey
Vincent Rodolpus Helser

A man accused of downloading child pornography appeared for sentencing in DeKalb County Criminal Court Tuesday.

Judge Gary McKenzie presided.

51 year old Roy Junior Wilkey entered a plea to one count of sexual exploitation of a minor and received a four year sentence to serve in the Tennessee Department of Correction. His name will be listed on the state’s sex offender registry. He was given jail credit from June 27, 2017 to June 19, 2018.

Smithville Police said that on June 22, 2017 they were called to check out a possible break in at a residence on Bright Hill Road. Upon arrival they found Wilkey outside the home. He was not trying to break in but had been locked out by female minors inside the residence that he had been babysitting. One of the girls alleged that Wilkey had taken a picture of her while she was either in or coming out of the shower. Officers asked Wilkey for consent to look at his cell phone. He voluntarily turned it over to them. While no pictures were found of the children he was babysitting they did find images of child pornography that he had downloaded from the Internet. He was subsequently charged in the case.

The indictment against Wilkey alleged that on June 22, 2017 he did unlawfully and intentionally or knowingly possess material to-wit: more than 50 images that depict minors engaged in sexual activity.

Meanwhile in a separate case. 53 year old Vincent Rodolpus Helser entered a plea by criminal information to a violation of the sexual offender registration and monitoring act. He received a two year suspended sentence. The term is to run consecutive to a violation of probation against him in General Sessions Court. Helser was given jail credit from March 12, 2018 to June 19, 2018.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on December 31, 2017 Helser violated the sex offender registration law by not self reporting to the sheriff’s office as required.

Law Enforcement Officers Raid Home of Suspected Drug Dealer

June 20, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Travis Eric Patterson
Sheriff’s Department officers confiscated 15 grams of methamphetamine, 6 ounces of marijuana, an assortment of prescription pills, one rifle, two shotguns, three pistols, digital scales, glass pipes, and possible stolen power tools. Detectives also seized $427.00 in cash

State and local law enforcement agents conducted a raid at the home of a suspected drug dealer early this morning (Wednesday) at 253 Toad Road and found methamphetamine, marijuana, pills, paraphernalia, weapons, and possible stolen property.

(CLICK LINK BELOW TO VIEW MUG SHOTS OF PERSONS RECENTLY BOOKED AT THE DEKALB COUNTY JAIL- Intakes & Releases From: 6/11/2018 Thru: 6/18/2018)

Seagate Crystal Reports - REPOR_7.pdf (2.98 MB)

The search warrant was executed at the home of 29 year old Travis Eric Patterson for the suspected sale of illegal narcotics and possession of a weapon by a convicted felon. Patterson was taken into custody and is currently being held without bond in the DeKalb County Jail on a failure to appear warrant. Charges are forthcoming stemming from the raid.

In a prepared statement, Sheriff Patrick Ray said that “early on Wednesday morning (6-20-18), officers with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department, officers with the Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit (SWAT), an agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, and members of the 13th Judicial District Attorney General’s Office, executed a search warrant at the home of Travis Patterson”.

“The search warrant stems from the sale of illegal narcotics and the illegal possession of a weapon by a convicted felon”.

“Through their investigation, Sheriff’s Department Detectives found that Patterson, who is a convicted felon, was in possession of firearms at his home. As a safety precaution, the THP Special Operations Unit was summoned to assist in the search of the home. The THP Special Operations Unit made a forcible entry into the home after no one came to the door. Patterson finally gave himself up along with another male and female who were at the residence. No one was injured”.

“Upon searching Patterson’s residence, Sheriff’s Department officers found 15 grams of methamphetamine, 6 ounces of marijuana, an assortment of prescription pills, one rifle, two shotguns, three pistols, digital scales, glass pipes, and possible stolen power tools. Detectives also seized $427.00 in cash”.

County Budget Committee Completes its Work, Recommends No Increase in Property Tax Rate

June 20, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page

The budget committee of the county commission concluded its work for the year Tuesday night and is recommending that the property tax rate remain the same for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

The committee has reviewed and approved budgets for all county departments subject to final approval by the 14 member county commission in July.

The overall tax rate is expected to remain at $1.8335 cents per $100 of assessed valuation.

The rate recommended for each department is as follows:

County General: 0.9635 cents
General Purpose Schools: 0.6100 cents
Debt Service: 0.1300 cents
Highways/Public Works: 0.0300 cents
General Capital Projects: 0.1000 cents

Revenue from the current property tax assessments for the 2018-19 fiscal year based upon estimated assessed valuations of $497 million dollars is $49,700 per one cent of the property tax rate. However the county is actually expected to receive $46,658 per cent of the tax rate based on a 94% collection rate or a 6% delinquency.

The estimated net collection from the overall property tax rate is $8,565,745 in local revenue to help fund the county general department, general purpose schools, debt service, highways/public works, and general capital projects.

Funding to non-profit organizations is as follows:

Upper Cumberland Development District: $ 2,000

Tennessee Forestry Division:$ 1,500

Plateau Mental Health Center: $ 7,180

Senior Program: $ 38,029.05 (includes $6,000 for Alexandria Senior Center)

DeKalb County Soil Conservation District: $ 41,991.21

Chamber of Commerce:$ 17,500

Veterans Services Cemetery $ 7,215

DeKalb County Rescue Squad: $ 22,821

Upper Cumberland Human Resources: $ 1,200

Upper Cumberland Reconnect: $925

Imagination Library:$ 7,200

Veterans Honor Guard:$ 2,000

DeKalb County Fair: $ 1,500

WCTE $ 5,000

Upper Cumberland Child Advocacy Center: $ 1,780

UCHRA Assessment - Homemaker Aide, etc. $ 9,245

Genesis House: $ 1,500

TOTAL NON-PROFITS $ 168,586.26

Committee Recommends Funding New Employee Position for Assessor of Property

June 19, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Budget Committee (Photo from May 31 meeting)

Assessor of Property Shannon Cantrell may get more help for his office.

During Tuesday night’s meeting, the budget committee of the county commission voted 3 to 2 to fund a new position for the Assessor’s Office in the 2018-19 budget. Members Jack Barton, Larry Summers, and Jerry Adcock voted in favor. Wayne Cantrell and Jimmy Midgett voted no.

The action is subject to final approval of the county commission with passage of the budget in July.

The Assessor currently has three clerks working for him. This move would give him a fourth employee. A new employee in the Assessor’s office would start out earning $26,785 per year.

The decision by the budget committee is a reversal of a vote taken on Thursday, May 31 concerning the assessor's request. At that meeting, the committee recommended that no new spending be included in the general fund for the 2018-19 budget except for pay raises already approved earlier this year for county employees and anything mandated by the state. Requests from the Assessor of Property and County Clerk for an additional full time employee for their offices were denied along with a request for more local funding for the Recovery Court and a proposed increase in salary for the EMS director. The vote was 3 to 1. Members Wayne Cantrell, Jimmy Midgett, and Jerry Adcock voted in favor. Jack Barton voted no. Larry Summers was absent.

During the following meeting on Monday, June 4, budget committee member Jack Barton made a motion that the committee revisit the Assessor’s request at a later meeting and take another look at the overall EMS budget regarding salaries. Barton’s motion was approved.

Barton said Tuesday night he is convinced Cantrell should have another employee.

“I really believe Shannon gave a good presentation to the budget committee in a previous meeting of how he would utilize an additional employee in generating some new tax revenue for the county by getting out and inspecting homes, properties, and all that. His presentation was compelling as to why he doesn’t have enough employees to bring in the revenue,” said Barton.

Based on the number of parcels in the county at more than 18,000, Cantrell contends he is entitled to a fourth employee under state law. Others say the law provides for an employee per 4500 parcels, after the first 4500 parcels.

“Shannon is over 18,000 parcels and is into his statutory need for an extra person. By law for every 4,500 parcels the assessor can have an employee. The first 4,500 parcels is under him (Cantrell) but all the subsequent 4,500 parcels are for his clerks. He is beyond 18,000 by a couple of hundred so he is into his next 4,500 parcels,” said Barton.

The budget committee did not re-consider the County Clerk's request for an additional employee.

As for the EMS budget, Barton said too much was allocated in certain categories for salaries beyond what the county commission had authorized earlier this year.

“I felt like based on the (pay) plan we (county commission) approved there was too much budgeted for salaries and there was. The county mayor’s office came to the same conclusion,” said Barton.

Although no EMS employee’s salary will be affected by the move, the committee voted Tuesday night to trim the EMS budget by $30,000 in the category for full time medical and $60,000 for part time personnel. The budget committee’s action will be forwarded to the county commission for final approval in July.

Budget Committee Approves School Budget, Teachers Closer to Getting Pay Raise

June 19, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Director of Schools Patrick Cripps Meets with County Budget Committee

Teachers and Support Staff of the DeKalb County School System are a step closer to getting a local pay raise.

The county budget committee Tuesday night approved the Board of Education’s revised 2018-19 spending plan for schools and will send it on to the entire county commission for final approval in July. Director of Schools Patrick Cripps formally presented the proposal to the committee.

Under the plan, all certified personnel including teachers would be given a $600 local pay raise in addition to the $600 increase they are getting from the state for a total of $1,200. Support staff would also get a local $600 pay hike under the board’s new request.

The School Board initially wanted to give teachers and other certified personnel a $2,400 local pay raise along with the $600 state increase and $1,500 for support staff.

In addition to the reduced proposed pay raises, the board has revised its requests in other areas.

Funding to implement a Dyslexia Program for children at the elementary school grade level has been eliminated. The board cut its requests for $215,000 in new money to buy science textbooks down to $65,000. One new school bus will be purchased instead of two buses, a savings of $100,000.

Money to purchase Chrome Books for the 3rd through 5th grades at a cost of $240,000 will be carried over since it was budgeted this past year and not spent. Students from the 6th grade through high school already have Chrome Books. Extra funds ($20,000) is still included to repair and replace existing Chrome Books.

The proposed budget still includes $10,000 in new spending for meeting mandates of state evaluation and testing.

Due to the increasing demands of technology, the board still plans to make a current half time computer tech position full time ($13,150 in new money) which would give the school system three techs.

Extra funds are included for employee matching benefits and $2,500 to help schools cover their phone bills.

The proposed general purpose school budget now totals $23,322,099 for the 2018-19 fiscal year, an increase in spending of $849,816 from this past year. If the school expenditures exceed revenues in the coming year, the budget committee wants the Board of Education to understand that the overage will be taken from the school system’s fund balance (reserves) to balance the budget.

Acreage Reporting Requirements and Deadlines Announced

June 19, 2018
by: 
Dwayne Page
Donny Green

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Donny Green in DeKalb and Cannon counties reminds producers to report planted, prevented planted, and failed acres to establish or retain FSA program eligibility.

For planted crops, the following acreage reporting dates are applicable for DeKalb and Cannon counties:

July 15:corn, cucumbers, okra, peppers, potatoes, pumpkins, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, watermelons, and cantaloupes
August 15:green beans
November 15: perennial forage (hay and pasture)
December 15: fall-seeded small grains (wheat)

The following exceptions apply to the above acreage reporting dates:

•If the crop has not been planted by the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 15 calendar days after planting is completed.

•If a producer acquires additional acreage after the above acreage reporting date, then the acreage must be reported no later than 30 calendars days after purchase or acquiring the lease. Appropriate documentation must be provided to the county office.

•If a perennial forage crop is reported with the intended use of “cover only,” “green manure,” “left standing” or “seed,” then the acreage must be reported by July 15, 2018.

Producers must report crop acreage they intended to plant, but due to natural disaster, they were prevented from planting. Prevented planting acreage must be reported on form FSA-576, Notice of Loss, no later than 15 calendar days after the final planting date as established by FSA and the Risk Management Agency. According to Green, the final planting date for soybeans is June 15, 2018.

Producers with failed acres should also use form FSA-576, Notice of Loss, to report failed acres.
For losses on crops covered by the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program and crop insurance, producers must file a Notice of Loss within 15 days of the occurrence of the disaster or when losses become apparent. Producers must timely file a Notice of Loss for failed acres on all crops including grasses.

Please contact the DeKalb/Cannon County FSA office at 615-597-8225 to schedule an appointment to file a Notice of Loss. To find your local FSA office, visit http://offices.usda.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lend

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