Local News Articles

Bomb Threat False Alarm at Hospital

July 8, 2015
Dwayne Page and Shan Burklow
State Bomb and Arson Team Member Suits Up to Check Suspicious Package (Photo by Kim Johnson)
Firefighter (right) stands by as case (left) is opened (Kim Johnson Photo)

A suspicious package found in front of the Medical Specialty Office building near DeKalb Community Hospital Wednesday morning turned out to be a brief case containing personal belongings of the owner. But when it was found, the building was evacuated and the hospital perimeter placed on lockdown for several hours as a precaution until the briefcase could be examined.

The following is a media release to WJLE issued by the hospital:

"At approximately 11:15 AM today a suspicious package was reported in front of the doctors building on the DeKalb Community Hospital campus in Smithville, TN. A code orange bomb threat was then issued for the entire hospital facility and a perimeter lockdown immediately took effect. Incident commander Brandon Donnell was quoted as saying, "We had a quick response from the police, fire department, sheriffs department, State Bomb and Arson, bomb dogs from Lebanon, local TMA, THP, EMS, TEMA, 9-1-1, as well as the hospital staff and administration who train and prepare often for this type of crisis."

The DeKalb Community Hospital campus maintained the perimeter on lockdown until all communicating parties deemed the threat was no longer an issue. At approximately 2:00pm, the code orange bomb threat was changed to an all clear.

The Lebanon EMS was on the scene with additional support. "From our viewpoint, when we came on the scene, the evacuation procedure was spot on for a code orange (bomb threat), "said a representative for Lebanon Emergency Services Unit, "I was impressed to see your (DeKalb) emergency, fire, police, and all involved were all working so well together and were on the same page. That's always a great sign. I was very impressed."

Smithville Fire Chief Charlie Parker agreed, "I appreciate everyone working together to do a great job," said Parker, "We were relieved that the threat was not real, but it is good (for the future) to see how efficiently everyone responded."

"It is our priority to ensure the safety of our patients and we take every precaution necessary to that end," said Hospital CEO Sue Conley, "Our staff is well-trained and reacted quickly to this potential threat, and I am further impressed by the response of our emergency community."

County May Have to Borrow Money to Operate Without Tax Hike (VIEW VIDEO HERE)

July 8, 2015
Dwayne Page

Without a property tax increase the county is facing the possibility of having to borrow money to operate at some point during the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Steve Bates, the county's financial advisor, delivered the news during an all-committees meeting of the county commission Tuesday night at the courthouse.

It was the first time the county commission had met in a work session since the budget committee made its recommendation last Tuesday night, June 30 for passage of the proposed $41 million spending plan with a sixteen cent increase in the county property tax rate. If approved the rate would go from $1.62 to $1.78 per $100 of assessed value.

"If we don't increase the revenue this year then more than likely you're going to start having to borrow money in order to just meet payroll. That is not a position that DeKalb County has ever been in and doesn't want to be in," Bates told the commission.

Wayne Cantrell, Fourth District Commissioner and Chairman of the Budget Committee urged his fellow commissioners to support the recommendation for the tax hike. " I figured this thing up on a $100,000 house which is the average home in DeKalb County. It will raise it (tax bill) three dollars per month if we pass this sixteen cent (increase). This will be enough to get us through all our terms on here and probably even further. People are going to rag you about raising taxes, sure. But they're going to rag you a lot more if you go back in the community and say we've had to borrow money to run the county on. If we don't pass the sixteen cent (increase) and do eight or nine or ten cents instead we'll be right back up here next year doing it again. And nobody wants to be nickeled and dimed to death on this tax rate. So we're going to have to do something (raise taxes). Either that or we're going to look like idiots borrowing money to run the county government on," said Cantrell.

According to Bates, the county's budget woes are due to a stagnant economy in recent years in which revenues have been down while the cost of government has increased. Extra added costs due to the Affordable HealthCare Act (ObamaCare) and lower than anticipated receipts from the ambulance service are also factors.

"This budget is approximately a $41 million budget. For the last couple of years the county has been going into cash (fund balance/reserves) in the general fund. Some of the biggest factors was loss of interest income. There was a time when the county Trustee was earning 3% on the county's money. Now they're (county) earning .4%. That is just like having a tax cut. Then when the financial crisis happened (property) assessed values went down in the county which is also like having a tax cut. It's just gotten to where with the Affordable Health Care Act coming on (etc) it was just time to do something and this was the year it had to happen," said Bates.

"There is not really anything in this budget document that stands out any different than it was last year. Last year the county approved a budget going into cash by almost $800,000. We don't think the county went into cash that much. The books aren't closed yet but we do feel like we probably went into cash. We went with another company to do the billing for the ambulance service. Those receipts were down dramatically this year. We did not collect what we had budgeted so we know we went into cash we just don't know how much yet until the books are closed. But we're pretty confident that we went into cash by at least $250,000," Bates continued.

According to Bates, the county maintains an excellent bond credit rating and with increased revenues from a property tax hike, the general fund should stabilize. "The county is currently rated A1 by Moody's. That's a great credit rating and that's really where you want to be."

"The budget committee believes the tax levy ($1.78 per $100 of assessed value) is sufficient to get you by and stabilize the general fund. It gives a couple of other funds a little bit of growth money. We want to make sure we meet our maintenance of effort for schools. The county is doing that. Looking forward as the 2003 school refunding bond pays off in 2019 there will be some money left in that local purpose fund where you can absorb some school debt instead of letting them (schools) pay their pro rata share of that energy loan that they have just done, for the three million dollars that they have just borrowed. There is some things we can do to help schools along going forward," said Bates.

"Really the only uncertainty going forward right now is solid waste. We know that the transfer station will be coming on and you will be shipping some waste out of the county. We know there is going to be some transition. We don't know how much we'll be able to save by doing that. We do think there will be some. We just don't know how much yet. But until that gets on line we'll either have to use some of the money from the capital projects fund to help close the landfill or to issue a one and a half million dollar note or bond, which the county adopted a reimbursement resolution, because we want to make sure we have enough cash remaining in that solid waste fund so that it cash flows on a monthly basis," Bates said.

The proposed new rate breaks down as follows:
County General Fund: 94 cents (a 12 cent increase)
General Purpose Schools: 57 cents ( a 2 cent increase)
Debt Service: 12 cents
County Highway Department: 4 cents ( a 1 cent increase)
Capital Projects Fund: 11 cents ( a 1 cent increase)

The last time the county commission raised taxes was in 2011 when a ten cent hike was imposed with five cents of the increase going to schools and the other nickel to help fund the county general budget.

All five members of the budget committee last Tuesday, June 30 voted to recommend the new budget and tax rate for approval to the county commission. Members of the committee are Chairman Wayne Cantrell and Larry Summers, Jack Barton, Jimmy Midgett, and Jerry Adcock.

As required by law, a public notice will be published on Wednesday, July 15 in the newspaper. A public hearing will then be scheduled on Monday, July 27 at 5:30 p.m. followed by the regular monthly meeting of the county commission at which time the new budget and tax rate will be considered for passage. The meeting and public hearing will be held in the downstairs courtroom of the courthouse.

Smithville Man Arrested in Williamson County

July 7, 2015
Michael Pierre Rose

A Smithville man who resisted arrest and escaped deputies on State Route 840 in Williamson County Monday morning has been arrested and charged with resisting arrest, escape and criminal impersonation.

According to the Tennessean, 31 year old Michael Pierre Rose fled officers around 11:15 a.m. after being pulled over for a traffic violation near Triune, said Sharon Puckett, public information administrator for the Williamson County Sheriff's Office.

Several deputies, a helicopter and canine searched for Rose until he was found around 3:30 p.m. near Highway 96 and Hawkins Lane in Triune, according to a Williamson County Sheriff's Office news release.

Rose is being held on a $9,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Williamson County court at 1 p.m. July 16.

City Answers Caplinger Lawsuit

July 7, 2015
Dwayne Page
Mark E. McGrady
Vester Parsley

One month after being sued over the termination of Randy Caplinger as Chief of Police, the City of Smithville has filed an answer in DeKalb County Circuit Court.

In the answer, Filed Monday, July 6, city attorney Vester Parsley and Nashville lawyer Mark E. McGrady of Farrar & Bates, LLP claim that Caplinger was validly suspended and terminated by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen and that he is not entitled to back pay from the City.

In the lawsuit, attorneys for Caplinger, Sarah Cripps and Brandon Cox are asking for a declaratory judgment "to construe the charter for the City of Smithville and to determine which provision controls and governs the number of votes required by the Board of Aldermen to ratify or confirm the mayor's decision to remove an employee of the city". Cripps and Cox are also urging the court to find that the Board of Aldermen violated a section of the charter by not convening a meeting to ratify the mayor's suspension of Caplinger without pay prior to the due process hearing. They are further asking that the court "hold and declare that Caplinger's suspension without pay effective March 13, 2015 is invalid, and hence, a nullity" and that Caplinger be allowed to "receive all accrued back pay from March 13, 2015 until the date of the hearing in this cause.

"We are seeking to have Chief Caplinger restored to his rightful position as chief. We are also asserting that he is entitled to receive all accrued back pay and every other benefit to which he would be entitled had this unlawful suspension and termination never occurred," Cripps told WJLE last month.

Attorneys for the city contend that the issues the court must determine are:

"Whether the mayor's decision to terminate Caplinger received the approval of the requisite (required) number of members of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under the applicable provisions of the charter and ordinances of the City?"

"Whether the vote of a majority of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on May 8, 2015 in favor of the mayor's decision to terminate the employment of Caplinger was a valid ratification of the mayor's suspension of Caplinger's employment without pay effective March 13, 2015 under Section 3.08 of the City's charter?"

"If Caplinger's termination of employment was not approved by the requisite (required) majority of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under the applicable charter and ordinance provisions, whether Caplinger is entitled to back pay from the City since March 13, 2015?".

After a seven hour due process hearing Friday, May 8 the aldermen voted 3-2 to uphold Mayor Jimmy Poss' termination of Caplinger. Aldermen Gayla Hendrix, Danny Washer, and Jason Murphy voted in favor of the mayor's action. Aldermen Shawn Jacobs and Josh Miller voted against it.

But the vote itself became an issue and is one of the key components of the lawsuit.

Cripps and Cox insist that the city's charter requires a two thirds majority vote (four out of five) to confirm a mayoral termination. And Aldermen Jacobs and Miller said at the due process hearing that they had spoken with a legal representative of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) who told them that according to the city's charter, four votes were required to approve the action of the mayor.

Article III of the Smithville City Charter regarding Organization and Personnel. Section 3.01, subsection (2) states that "All officers and employees of the city, except as otherwise specifically provided by ordinance, shall be appointed and removed by the Mayor but only with the approval of at least two-thirds (2/3) majority vote of the Council present voting upon the appointment or removal, and the employees shall be under the direction and control of the Mayor."

But during the due process hearing City Attorney Vester Parsley cited another section in the charter, which seems to conflict with Section 3.01 in that it allows for only " a majority of the board" to approve removal of employees by the mayor. Parsley recommended that the aldermen follow this section of the charter.

The section of the charter to which Parsley referred is Section 3.08 in Article III which states that "The appointment and promotion of employees of the city shall be on a basis of merit, considering technical knowledge and education required to perform satisfactorily the work, experience in the particular or similar line of work and administrative or supervisory qualifications. The Mayor, or the City Administrator, if established by the Board, may, with the approval of a majority of the Board, make appointments, promotions, transfers, demotions, suspensions, and removal of all employees".

In the lawsuit, Cripps and Cox are asking the court to preserve both sections of the charter but to find that Section 3.01 (requiring a 2/3 super majority vote) controls because it is more specific than Section 3.08.

The city claims in its defense that the super majority requirement in Section 3.01 of the city charter to uphold the mayor's removal of an employee is not applicable when "otherwise specifically provided by ordinance".

Along that line, the city claims that the personnel policies adopted as an ordinance in March 2014 provides that the "mayor's termination decision will be reviewed by a review panel which will consist of the Mayor and City Council". And that "four of the six members of this review panel (including the mayor) approved the mayor's termination decision, supplying both a majority vote and two thirds vote in favor of termination".

The city goes on to argue that the new personnel policies require only that "the board" decide whether a termination is appropriate and that the board acts through a "majority" of its aldermen, who voted in favor of sustaining the mayor's decision to terminate Caplinger.

As for a legal representative of the Municipal Technical Advisory Service (MTAS) advising Aldermen Jacobs and Miller that according to the city's charter, four votes were required to approve the action of the mayor, the city denies that the MTAS official provided an opinion as to whether Section 3.01 of the city charter (providing for a super majority vote) controlled over the conflicting provisions in Section 3.08 of the city charter or the city's 2014 personnel ordinance.

According to attorneys for the city, Section 3.08 of the charter requires only a majority of the Board to approve the mayor's suspension or removal of all employees. Section 3.01(2) requires a two thirds majority vote of the "Council" to approve removals, but this section does not apply to suspensions. Smithville's governing body is made up of a Board of Mayor and Aldermen, not a "Council" and that Section 1.02(c) of the City charter defines the "Board" as including the mayor and five aldermen elected under the charter. This Section defines "Aldermen" and "Board Member" to include the Mayor. Therefore, a two-thirds vote of the "Council" can reasonably be construed to require the vote of a majority of the aldermen (three) plus the mayor, which would harmonize Section 3.01(2) of the charter in removals with Section 3.08 of the charter which applies to both suspensions and removals," according to the city.

"Section 3.08 of the charter permits a majority of the Board of Aldermen to approve a mayor's suspension of an employee. If Section 3.01 (2) (super majority vote) is the controlling provision for removal of an employee and it is construed to require that four of the five aldermen approve the removal of an employee, a majority of the aldermen and the mayor would be able to suspend an employee indefinitely but would not be able to terminate that employee," attorneys for the city continued.

"A super majority vote requirement is contrary to the principle of majority rule, and should not be enforced unless the super majority provision is unambiguous. The best argument "Caplinger" can make is that the charter is ambiguous, so the super majority provisions must give way to the majority rule provision".

"A majority of the aldermen at the conclusion of the May 8, 2015 hearing voted to uphold the mayor's decision to terminate "Caplinger", which vote was sufficient to uphold the mayor's decision to suspend "Caplinger" indefinitely effective on March 13, 2015."

The city also argues that Caplinger is not entitled to back pay because the personnel policy relating to such only applies if the board "determines the employee should be reinstated. A majority of the Board voted against Caplinger's reinstatement, so he is not entitled to receive any back pay".

Attorneys for the city are asking the court to enter a declaratory judgment finding that the mayor's decision to terminate Caplinger received the requisite (required) approval of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen under the applicable provisions of the charter and ordinances of the City; that the court find that the vote of a majority of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen on May 8, 2015 in favor of the mayor's decision to terminate the employment of Caplinger was a valid ratification of the mayor's suspension of Caplinger's employment without pay effective March 13, 2015 under Section 3.08 of the City's charter; and that the court find that Caplinger is not entitled to either reinstatement as Chief of Police or the award of back pay".

New Trial Date Set in Lawsuit Against School Board and Former Director

July 7, 2015
Dwayne Page

A new trial date has been set in a federal discrimination lawsuit against the Board of Education and former Director of Schools Mark Willoughby.

U.S. Magistrate Juliet Griffin has re-set the trial to September 20, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in Cookeville. The trial is expected to last no more than three days. The case had been set for trial October 20, 2015 but attorneys for both sides sought an extension in the discovery deadline.

In a motion filed April 10, attorneys for the plaintiff Bradley Hendrix and the Board and Director asked that the trial date be moved and that the discovery deadline be extended saying they needed more time to prepare for the case.

Andy L. Allman of Allman and Associates of Hendersonville is representing Hendrix while John D. Schwalb of Franklin is the attorney for the Board and former Director Willoughby.

In her order granting the continuance, Magistrate Griffin wrote that "The parties' motion to extend the discovery deadline and continue trial is granted and deadlines are extended as provided below".

"The deadline for the parties to file a joint mediation report is extended to September 1, 2015".

"The deadline for completion of all discovery is extended to September 29, 2015".

"Any discovery motions shall be filed by September 29, 2015".

"The parties will not use experts in this case".

"The deadline for the parties to file any dispositive motion is extended to October 27, 2015. Any response shall be filed within 28 days of the filing of the motion or by November 24, 2015, if the motion is filed on October 27, 2015. Any reply, if necessary, shall be filed within 14 days of the filing of the response or by December 8, 2015, if the response is filed on November 24, 2015."

"No other filings in support of or in opposition to any dispositive motion shall be made after December 8, 2015, except with the express permission of the Honorable Kevin H. Sharp, Chief Judge".

"In consultation with Chief Judge Sharp's office, the jury trial is rescheduled from October 20, 2015 to Tuesday, September 20, 2016 at 9:00 a.m. in the Cookeville Courthouse".

"The pretrial conference is rescheduled from October 5, 2015 to Monday, September 12, 2016 at 1:30 p.m. in Nashville."

Hendrix, a physical education teacher at Smithville Elementary School and a third district county commissioner, filed the lawsuit on May 29, 2014 in federal court.

In the lawsuit, Hendrix alleges that he has been "subjected to a continuous and ongoing pattern of harassment and retaliation for his votes as a county commissioner on matters pertaining to the school system", particularly his vote against purchasing land to build a new high school. According to the lawsuit, "On or about March 2011, the issue of the land purchase and school construction came before the county commission for approval. Hendrix voted against the measure. From that point on, Hendrix was subjected to harassment and retaliation by Mr. Willoughby in his employment".

Hendrix is suing the Board of Education and the former Director of Schools, both jointly and severally, seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He also wants a jury to try the case.

Commissioner of Tourist Development Coming to DeKalb County

July 7, 2015
Commissioner of Tourist Development, Kevin Triplett

The public is invited to attend a ‘Meet and Greet’ to honor the newly appointed Commissioner of Tourist Development, Kevin Triplett. Commissioner Triplett will be visiting Smithville on Wednesday, July 8th at the DeKalb County Complex auditorium from 4 PM to 5:30 PM. After speaking, the commissioner will have a question and answer time. Senator Mae Beavers, State Representative Terrie Lynn Weaver, and State Representative Mark Pody will also be in attendance.

County Mayor Tim Stribling and Chamber Director Suzanne Williams urges all county and city leaders, business and community leaders, as well as the general public to attend this important and informative event. “This is a great opportunity to meet our new Commissioner of Tourist Development and to help him be aware of all that DeKalb County has to offer,” says Williams, “Currently, DeKalb County has the third highest tourism dollars in the Upper Cumberland region bringing approximately $39 million dollars to our county and around 4 million visitors annually.”

Everyone is invited for this rare opportunity of meeting and visiting with Commissioner Triplett on Wednesday, July 8th at the County Complex auditorium from 4 PM to 5:30 PM. For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce at (615) 597-4163

Amateur Radio Special Event Station Successful

July 7, 2015
William Freddy Curtis
Amateur Radio Special Event Station Successful

The DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club conducted a Special Event Station at the 44th Annual Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Craft Festival on Saturday, July 4th, 2015. This year marked the fifteenth year that a special event station had been set up at the Jamboree.

The station was setup at the front entrance of the Justin Potter Library during the early morning hours on Saturday. Antennas were assembled, radios were properly checked, and transmissions were begun at 7:50 AM local time. Operations took place in the 20 meter, and 40 meter Amateur Radio bands, and the station was publicized in Amateur Radio magazines QST, CQ, and the club website. This year operations took place on a cool over cast day with only one small rain shower during the operations.

The station contacted 162 total Amateur Radio Stations in 34 States, Ontario and Nova Scotia, Canada, as well as stations in the Bahamas, and Puerto Rico. One interesting contact included an amateur radio operator on-board a farm tractor in Michigan.

Amateur Radio Operator Guests included the following: K4DZR – Jerry Goodchild, Cookeville, TN; KC5PSD – Keith Herbert, Smithville, TN; KD4TVO – Joe Poole, Wartburg, TN and WB4OFM – Jim Hall, Murfreesboro, TN.

Participants of the station included DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club Members:
NN9J – Steve Kujawski, Sparta, TN; NF9G - Kathy Kujawski, Sparta, TN; KF4QNT – Kevin Neely, Smithville, TN; and W4WFC – Wm. Freddy Curtis, Smithville, TN.

The club would like to offer thanks to Jamboree Coordinator - Mr. Jack Barton; Justin Potter Librarian - Mrs. Kathy Hendrixson; DeKalb County EMA Director – Charlie Parker; and Mr. Darryl Counts - Postmaster, Smithville Post Office for their support of this activity.

The DeKalb/Cannon County Amateur Radio Club is an organization of Amateur Radio operators from DeKalb, Cannon, and Surrounding Counties and is an affiliated club of the American Radio Relay League. The next club meeting will be on Thursday, July 30th, 2015 - 6:30 PM at the DeKalb County Complex, 722 South Congress Boulevard, Smithville, TN. Any person interested in Amateur Radio is invited to attend. More information about the club can be found at the club’s website – http://www.dccarc.org.

Picture Caption:

Picture 1 = Amateur Radio Operators at the Special Event Station operate during the 44th Annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival included:
Left to Right: W4WFC – Wm. Freddy Curtis; K4DZR – Jerry Goodchild and NN9J - Steve Kujawski. Photo Courtesy of NF9G – Kathy Kujawski.

Woman on Probation Found with Pills and Large Amount of Cash

July 6, 2015
Dwayne Page
April Lynn Anderson
Michael Dewayne Roller
Shannon James

A woman on probation, who said she is unemployed, was found with pills and a large amount of cash during a sheriff's department traffic stop on Tuesday, June 30.

31 year old April Lynn Anderson of Quail Point Drive, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule II drug for resale (Dilaudid). Her bond is $10,000 and she will be in court on August 13.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Tuesday, June 30, a detective spoke with Anderson after she got out of a 2015 Ford Mustang at East Side Inn on Highway 70 east. Anderson told the detective that she was on probation and had no job. She also admitted to having a metal container on her person. Anderson retrieved the container from the area of her crotch. Inside the container were 10 Dilaudid pills. Anderson also had $1,270 in cash and thirty two pill pouches in her purse. Anderson's vehicle was seized as a result of the discovery.

31 year old Michael Dewayne Roller of Big Hill Road, Liberty is charged with theft of property over $500. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court July 23. He was arrested on Tuesday, June 30.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, June 13 a report was taken of the attempted theft of a paddle boat on Keltonburg Road. A criminal detective was assigned the case and found that Roller tried to take a blue Sea Hawk Paddle Boat from an address on Keltonbrug Road without the owner's consent. The boat is valued at $600.

39 year old Shannon James of McCarley, Mississippi was arrested on Friday July 3 and charged with domestic assault and driving under the influence after intentionally wrecking his 2001 Chevy S-10 to apparently frighten a woman who was a passenger. He was further cited for no drivers license and driving on roadways laned for travel. James' bond is $3,000 and he will be in court July 16.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, July 3 a deputy was dispatched to Vaughn Lane because of a truck wreck. Upon arrival he spoke with the driver , James and a woman who was a passenger. According to the woman, she and James were having a verbal argument which became physical when James burned her finger with a cigarette. He then began swerving the truck in the roadway to scare the woman. She said James intentionally wrecked the truck causing her to fear for her life.

The investigating officer detected a strong odor of alcohol on James' person at the scene. He was very unsteady on his feet and his speech was slurred. James performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He consented to a blood alcohol test.

Beer Board Denies Seitz Permit for Home Brewery

July 6, 2015
Dwayne Page
Beer Board members seated at table: Rhonda Caplinger, Frank Thomas, Leonard Dickens, Jim Stagi, Robert Rowe, and Johnny King. (Edward Frazier absent)
Alex Seitz

He had hoped to be able to start his own in-home research brewery operation , but Alex Seitz has been denied a beer manufacturing permit.

The DeKalb County Beer Board met to act on the application Thursday night. The meeting was covered exclusively by WJLE.

Seitz, who resides on Floyd Drive in Lakeview Mountain Estates, said he would be conducting the brewery primarily for research purposes but small amounts of the byproduct would be bottled and sold to the Calfkiller Brewery in Sparta, a wholesale distributor. Seitz said the brewery would be operated out of his basement and that there would be no retail sales to the public from his home and no signage on the premises. "It technically is a business but it is a research facility. Its science based and will be in incredibly small amounts. It's like a byproduct of the theoretical yeast fermentation process. I will put it (beer) in champagne bottles and then I'll load them in my car and take it away. I just want to be able to work with my yeast so that I can actually sell the yeast because a lot of other home breweries and laboratories would want that yeast," said Seitz in addressing the Beer Board.

While the board voted 3-2 in favor with one member choosing to pass, the application fell one vote short of being approved. For a permit to be granted, four members of the seven member board must vote in the affirmative.

Board members voting in favor were Rhonda Caplinger, Johnny King, and Jim Stagi. Frank Thomas and Leonard Dickens voted against it and Robert Rowe, who presided in the absence of Chairman Edward Frazier, passed.

Dickens and Thomas were apparently concerned about a brewery operating in a residential subdivision. One man who lives in the neighborhood addressed the beer board expressing his opposition. "This is a subdivision restricted solely for residential purposes," he said. His concern is if one business is allowed, others could follow.

Seitz said he has spoken with some neighbors around him and they are not opposed to his plans.

"The book (law) says the first thing (Seitz must do) to do is register with the State of Tennessee," said Dickens who cited TCA 57-5-102 which states "Every person, firm, corporation, joint-stock company, syndicate or association in this state engaging in the manufacture or wholesale distribution of beer shall be required to first register its name and address, by mail or in person, at the office of the commissioner of revenue and to receive and keep posted at its usual place of business a certificate of registration bearing a serial number, which serial number shall be assigned to such person, firm, corporation, joint-stock company, syndicate or association in this state by the commissioner. The registration shall be made and certificate of registration received and posted before commencement of any business as described herein,"

In response to Dickens, other board members said before Seitz can register with the state, he must have a permit issued by the county beer board.

As for neighbor complaints, the permit application form states that "DeKalb County has adopted a rule forbidding the sale of beer and like alcoholic beverages within 300 feet of a residential dwelling, if the owner of the dwelling objects to the issuance of a beer permit". Although a neighbor questioned it, Seitz claims no resident in his neighborhood is within 2,000 feet of his home and no one who may live within 300 feet has yet come forward to voice an objection.

The application form also states that "DeKalb County has adopted a rule forbidding the sale, storage, and manufacture of beer and like beverages within 800 feet of schools, churches, and other places of public gathering". This would not be an issue in Seitz's case since no businesses operate in the area.

Beer Board member Caplinger said she had researched the laws and talked with County Attorney Hilton Conger who said the beer board could grant the permit. "He (Conger) said there isn't anything that says we couldn't do it," she said. However, if there are deed restrictions, the homeowners association in the subdivision could try to block it (apparently in the courts). "He can sell it to a wholesaler. People can't pull up to his door step and go in and buy it but he can ship it off to a distributor. (The law says) he may not sell beer directly to retailers and he's not. He is selling it to a wholesaler," said Caplinger.

Meanwhile, the beer board also voted Thursday night to require TBI and FBI criminal background checks of all future applicants for permits. Under T.C.A. § 57-5-103(e), a city or county is authorized to seek criminal history background or fingerprint checks on applicants for beer permits. These criminal background checks may include fingerprint checks against state and federal criminal records maintained by the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In other action, the Beer Board voted to accept an application for an on premises permit from Ross Garrett for Edgar Evins Marina-Ship's Store at 2100 Edgar Evins Park Road, Silver Point in DeKalb County.

The board also accepted an application for an on and off premises permit from Araceli Soto Godinez for Nicoles Market on Short Mountain Highway.

Final action on both applications will be considered at the next meeting in August.

Rocky Top Revue Wins Jamboree Square Dancing Competition (View Video Here)

July 5, 2015
Dwayne Page

Rocky Top Revue of Franklin won the Square Dancing Competition Saturday during the 44th annual Smithville Fiddler's Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

Only three square dance teams competed during the preliminaries and all three were scheduled for a return performance during the finals Saturday night but then heavy rains set in forcing a change in plans. The dancers decided to allow their scores in the preliminaries to determine how they would place.

Taking second place was Main Stage Fusion of Springfield and Third Place went to Harpeth River of Franklin.


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