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Local News Articles

Smithville Man Cited After Illegally Killing Black Bear in DeKalb County

June 3, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Chad Buchanan of Dry Creek Road Smithville took this photo of the black bear as it crossed a soybean field near his home Friday morning

A Smithville man was cited Friday after illegally killing a black bear which had wandered onto his property near the Old Snow Hill Road.

Jim Beshearse will soon make a court appearance on the citation.

The bear was spotted by several other people in DeKalb County Thursday evening and Friday morning including the areas of Patterson Road, Short Mountain Highway, Robinson Road, and Dry Creek Road. It may have been the same bear seen in the Rock Island area of Warren County Wednesday.

Jeff Crips was among those who saw the bear Friday morning. Crips told WJLE that the bear crossed in front of him on Short Mountain Highway near Smithville as he was driving to work enroute to Woodbury after 7 a.m.

Chad Buchanan and his wife, who live on Dry Creek Road in Smithville, spotted the bear and he took a photo of it (shown above) at 9:15 a.m. in a soybean field near his home.

“We heard the dog barking and looked to see what the dog was barking about. We happened to look up and there was a big bear. We watched as it went off into the woods”

Friday afternoon, the TWRA issued the following prepared news release concerning the killing of the bear:

“Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency (TWRA) officer Tony Cross was off duty when he responded to a call concerning shots fired in an area where a transient, male black bear had been spotted earlier. Wildlife officer Cross quickly found the bear and shooter near Old Snow Hill Road in Smithville, DeKalb County.

Wildlife officer Cross stated, “This isn’t the kind of day I like.” Cross, a 24 year veteran with TWRA, believed the man had no intent of killing a bear when he left his house. “I think he just shot before he thought of another solution,” shared Cross. However, state laws were violated and the man was charged with shooting big game outside of the season. Additionally, there is not an open season for black bear in DeKalb County”.

Four Involved in Smithville Wreck

June 3, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
1996 Chevy pickup driven by Pamela Gipson
2006 Ford SUV driven by Perry Taylor

Four people were involved in a two vehicle accident Friday at the intersection of South Congress Boulevard and Vaughn Lane.

Sergeant Brad Tatrow of the Smithville Police Department said 53 year old Pamela Gipson of Murfreesboro was west on Vaughn Lane in a green 1996 Chevy pickup when she failed to yield at the intersection and struck a 2006 Ford SUV in the side. Perry Taylor, the driver of the SUV was traveling south on Congress Boulevard. Gipson’s granddaughters, Dana Black and Haylie Padgett were passengers with her.

There were apparently no serious injuries though Taylor was taken to St. Thomas DeKalb Hospital by DeKalb EMS.

Gipson was cited for failure to yield and for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance).

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department were also on the scene.

4th Annual Giggin' For Grads Set for June 24

June 3, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
4th Annual Giggin' For Grads Set for June 24

Animal Rights groups may be hopping mad about it but the fourth annual DeKalb County Young Farmers & Ranchers "Giggin' for Grads" frog gigging tournament is set for Friday, June 24

Proceeds benefit the agricultural scholarship fund. Registration will be held from 5:30 pm to 7pm, June 24 in the DeKalb County Community Complex parking lot.

While groups such as "Friends of Animals" recognize that gigging frogs is legal, they claim it is a cruel killing of wild frogs. For the last three years, animal rights activists have come to Smithville to conduct peaceful protests of the frog gigging tournament.

Weigh in by 1 a.m. with awards immediately following. No late weigh-ins accepted. One team member must be present to win. You may pre-register at the DeKalb County Farm Bureau or DeKalb Farmers Coop until June 22.

Open to teams of 2-4 people at $15.00 per person. All ages welcome.

Cash payouts

1st place 25%-bag of 15 heaviest frogs wins

2nd place 15%- They will keep your frogs for a community frog leg fry the next day

3rd place 10%- Door prizes will be given away.

Call 615-597-7751 for more information or visit Facebook.com/DeKalbCountyYoungFarmersAndRanchers.

Please see official rules. Anyone under 18 must have consent of a parent/guardian. The Tennessee limit is 20 frogs per person per day. Must have legal hunting license to gig.

Board Denies Beer Permit After Questions Arise About Applicant

June 2, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Members of County Beer Board Rhonda Caplinger, Johnny King, Jim Stagi, and Robert Rowe. Members Myron Rhody and Edward Frazier present but not shown here. Member Leonard Dickens absent.

The DeKalb County Beer Board Thursday night voted to deny an application for an On Premise permit to sell beer at a local business due to results of a criminal background check on the applicant.

Pamela Jordan of Tease Cycle, LLC at 600 North Congress Boulevard had filed the application with the beer board but a criminal background check, which is required by the beer board of all applicants, revealed that she has outstanding warrants against her in Florida and that she gave a different date of her birth on the permit application than what is shown on her suspended drivers license.

Jordan did not attend the beer board meeting.

“The county clerk showed me what he had on the criminal history and it shows that she is wanted out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida for outstanding warrants,” Sheriff Patrick Ray told the Beer Board. “ We called down there and they will not extradite her from Tennessee. She has to be in the state of Florida but she is wanted,” he said.

“It looks like she also has a couple of aliases for dates of birth. I noticed on her application that she gave you (beer board) that her birth date is July 9, 1959. That is one of her dates of birth given on her NCIC (National Crime Information Center) report that the clerk obtained. On her drivers’ license she comes back suspended with a date of birth showing July 5, 1959. She has a bogus date of birth on one of them,”Sheriff Ray said.

“Is she or is she not a convicted felon? I don’t know if an outstanding warrant makes you a convicted felon,” said Board member Robert Rowe.

“I did not see any felonies on her but the false date of birth is on there. She gave you a different one than is on her driver’s license. I don’t know which one is right,” replied Sheriff Ray.

“We don’t know which one is false," added County Attorney Hilton Conger.

“There’s a lot of false information. It sounds like some problems we probably don’t need,” said Board member Myron Rhody.

Rowe made a motion not to approve the license. The board voted to deny the application.

Beer Board Assesses Civil Penalty Against Maggie's Landing

June 2, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Maggie's Landing on Highway 70
Beer Board members Rhonda Caplinger, Johnny King, Jim Stagi, and Robert Rowe direct their attention to County Attorney Hilton Conger (not shown here)
Beer Board members Myron Rhody and Chairman Edward Frazier with Secretary Judy Miller McGee recording the minutes of the meeting
Charlie Blanchfield of Maggie's Landing shown in background as Beer Board members Johnny King, Jim Stagi, and Robert Rowe deliberate on decision in case against Maggie's Landing
Sheriff Patrick Ray and Officers Prepared to Present Their Case Against Maggie's Landing to Beer Board

The DeKalb County Beer Board Thursday night voted to assess the owners of Maggie's Landing on Highway 70 a civil penalty of $200 for an illegal Sunday beer sale.

Acting on complaints of illegal Sunday sales of beer, the Sheriff’s Department cited an employee of Maggie's Landing on Sunday, April 24 after she sold an alcoholic beverage to someone working undercover.

50 year old Lisa Sowell Dulley of Hurricane Ridge Road, Smithville was issued a citation for unlawful sale of alcoholic beverages. The case remains pending in court.

According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, the undercover operative entered Maggie's Landing Sunday where Dulley allegedly sold him an alcoholic beverage. After making the purchase, he left the business with the beverage.

During Thursday night’s meeting, County Attorney Hilton Conger informed the beer board that it could take action against the establishment, even though the clerk has not yet had her case decided in court.

“What the court does in the case of the person who made the sale has nothing to do with what this board does,” said Conger.

“According to the law, the board has the authority to revoke the license outright; to suspend their license for a period of time; or impose a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 (for selling beer on Sunday). That’s your options,” Conger told the board.

Conger then asked Charlie Blanchfield of Maggie’s Landing, whether there was any dispute about the allegation.

“Charlie is there any dispute that beer was sold on Sunday”?

“We were unaware that we couldn’t (sell beer on Sunday). We don’t sell to go. We did on the premises. But when it came to this and it was brought to my attention after the officers came in, Maggies has been closed every Sunday since and will be,” said Blanchfield.

Myron Rhody, the newest member of the Beer Board, asked if Maggie's Landing had any violations in the past.

“Has this establishment given any problems in the past. Do we have any kind of record where they have been penalized”?

“No they haven’t” was the answer from other members of the beer board.

“What I’m getting at is if they have not created any problems, I’d hate to throw the book at somebody if they have never created a problem and do the maximum. But I’m sure even they (owners) understand we’re going to have to do something,” said Rhody

“I make a motion to assess a civil penalty of $200 to be paid within seven days”, said board member Jim Stagi.

The motion was adopted by the board.

After the vote, Blanchfield suggested that action be taken to change existing regulations which currently treats businesses in the county that sell alcohol differently than those in the City of Smithville.

“The customers that normally come to Maggie's who want to have a beer with their pizza on Sunday can go to any gas station within the city, to Food Lion, to the Dollar Store or wherever and buy beer on Sunday and they can go to the restaurant across the street from the high school and have a beer with their meal on Sunday but they can’t come to my restaurant because of the beer boards (city and county) being different,” he said.

Blanchfield further said he was under the impression the county beer board has the authority from the state or Alcoholic Beverage Commission to make changes. “The way the state has left it up to every county is that the beer board has the right, without county commissioners approval and without a referendum vote, to make beer sales on Sunday available”

Conger told Blanchfield that the beer board has no such authority but that Sunday beer sales in the county would be allowed under state law should a Smithville referendum pass in November to allow liquor by the drink in city restaurants.

“The ABC (Alcoholic Beverage Commission) has nothing to do with county beer boards. The ABC controls liquor sales. Not beer sales. So your premise is absolutely incorrect. The ABC has nothing to do with the county beer board. The county beer board is regulated by state law and the state law says when you can sell beer. This board can’t change the state law,” said Conger

“If , in the upcoming (November) election, the city votes to have liquor by the drink then the hours of the county establishments conform to the city. Just like in Warren County for example. In McMinnville you can go in Applebee’s and you can get a drink of anything you want on Sunday. On Sunday you can go to Cowboy Up Bar and Grill in Warren County and get a beer. The reason is because the law says once a municipality adopts liquor by the drink, then the establishments in the county, their hours of sale would conform to that (in the city),” Conger concluded

In 2012, the Smithville Aldermen voted 3-2 to allow off premises permit holders in the city to sell packaged beer twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. Eligible restaurants may also apply for an on-premises permit to sell beer with meals in their establishments subject to beer ordinance regulations.

In November 2014, Smithville voters narrowly approved a referendum to allow retail package stores to sell liquor within the city subject to city and ABC regulations.

Two referendums will be on the Smithville ballot in November, including one asking voters if they wish to permit grocery stores in the city to sell wine. The other referendum will ask city voters whether or not to approve the legal sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises in Smithville (liquor by the drink).

DeKalb County Nurses among 57 Motlow State Nursing Graduates

June 2, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Johnny Ball and Caleb Hendrix

Motlow State Community College graduated 57 nursing students during commencement ceremonies on May 7. The evening before graduation, nurses took part in the annual nurse pinning ceremony inside Nisbett Center on the Moore County campus.

Pictured are DeKalb County nurses, from left, Johnny Ball and Caleb Hendrix.

DTC Communications names new CEO

June 1, 2016
Chris Townson

DTC Communications is pleased to announce that Chris Townson has joined the cooperative as its new chief executive officer. Townson brings with him 22 years of industry experience, along with an understanding of and commitment to the cooperative business model.

“I am excited to be joining the DTC family, and I look forward to getting to know the employees and the communities they serve,” Townson said. “DTC Communications has an established history of serving its members well, and that comes down to dedicated employees and a board that cares about their neighbors. I want to hear from our members so I can serve alongside them."

Townson understands the important role cooperatives play in their communities. Born and raised in northeast Alabama, Townson relied on cooperatives for both electricity and telecommunications service. He began work with Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative (based in Rainsville, Alabama) in 1994. His experience there included outside plant, information systems, industry and external relations, government affairs and business development.

His most recent senior management responsibilities included serving as assistant corporate secretary and manager of customer service and support. In this role he led employees in all functions of the cooperative’s local and competitive operations with respect to customer service, sales and support activities.

Townson holds a Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management and a Master of Business Administration.

Joining Townson are his wife, Melissa, a high school language arts teacher, and their two sons Christian, 17, and Ethan, 12.

“Cooperatives matter because people matter,” Townson said. “These are challenging times for the telecommunications industry. We are facing changing regulation, rapidly evolving technologies and the need for broadband expansion. But when local people work together to keep each other connected, we can accomplish great things. I’m proud to have the opportunity to lead DTC during this important period.”

DTC Communications is a member-owned telecommunications cooperative established in 1951. The cooperative provides communication, entertainment, and security products and services to residential and business customers, primarily throughout Middle Tennessee.

Lower Insurance Premiums Coming to DeKalb County Property Owners

June 1, 2016
County Fire Chief Donny Green

The fire protection services of DeKalb County Fire Department’s entire service area, as evaluated and rated by Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), will improve to a Property Protection Classification (PPC) 6 effective September 1, 2016. This PPC 6 rating will apply to all properties located within 5 miles of any one of the eleven DeKalb County Fire Department stations, regardless of distance to a hydrant or credited alternative water supply. Areas beyond 5 road miles from one of the recognized stations will continue to be rated as PPC 10.

Under the previous rating, properties had to be located within 1,000 feet of a fire hydrant or credited alternative water supply to receive the PPC 6 rating. With this new rating, the 1,000 feet requirement will no longer apply effective September 1, 2016 for properties in DeKalb County Fire Department’s jurisdiction located within 5 road miles of a fire station.

In March 2016, the department was evaluated for its capabilities to supply water using the “hauling water” method. “In order to meet ISO water supply requirements using this method, we had to demonstrate that we could supply a minimum of 250 gallons of water per minute for 2 hours to all areas in the county-wide jurisdiction (264 square miles),” said Chief Donny Green. On May 31, 2016, County Mayor Tim Stribling and Chief Donny Green received official notification from ISO that the department was successful in meeting and exceeding all the requirements to be graded a county wide PPC 6, based on its proven capabilities to supply water in areas of the county where hydrants are sparse.

In addition to water supply, other criteria had to be met to achieve this rating. The Fire Department had to meet the following: 1) have a 24-hour central dispatch for contacting all firefighters on duty via pagers, 2) must have a fully equipped reserve apparatus, 3) annual tests must be conducted on pumper trucks, hoses, and hydrants, 4) a minimum number of firefighters must be active in the department and respond to alarms, 5) firefighter training and documentation must greatly exceed minimum standards, 6) the department must have a definitive and reliable water supply with adequate water tankers, 7) must train on rural water supplies, 8) must provide documentation of actual fires which hauled water was utilized and successful, and 9) must have pumper capacities to suppress a fire in any building in the community. This improvement will save affected residents in these areas an estimated $200 annually (based on coverage of a home valued at $100,000) on their homeowner’s insurance premiums. This rating does not affect the current ratings for residents in the cities of Smithville and Alexandria.

DeKalb County Mayor Tim Stribling says, “I am tremendously proud of our fire department, water system, and 911 Center. The fire department, as evident by this evaluation, has worked extremely hard to improve the PPC rating for more and more of our citizens across the rural areas of our county. The financial impact of this new rating is very important, but just as important is the fact that our communities are safer and better protected by the level of service DeKalb County Fire Department is providing, using an all-volunteer staff. Residents and property owners of DeKalb County should know that their investment spent to provide rural fire protection is getting results. The hard work put forth by our fire department and supporting partners has resulted in this improved rating that positively affects so many of our citizens, especially those living on fixed incomes.”

DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green pointed out that this rating improvement was no small task. “I want to personally recognize our department’s officers and members who made enormous time sacrifices to make this happen. In addition, it took the support and assistance from the water utility districts that serve DeKalb County, the DeKalb County 911 Emergency Communications District, Mayor Tim Stribling, and the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners. Our ability to improve our PPC classification and help lower insurance premiums for our citizens is a result of team work from an awesome group of men and women who volunteer to step up to a huge commitment, increased training activities, updated equipment, the DeKalb 911 Emergency Communication District’s efficiency in receiving and handling fire alarms, and the ability of our water systems to deliver sufficient water flows.” ISO collects information on municipal fire-protection efforts in communities throughout the United States. In each of those communities, ISO analyzes the relevant data using its Fire Suppression Rating Schedule (FSRS). The company then assigns a Public Protection Classification from 1 to 10. Class 1 generally represents superior property fire protection, and Class 10 indicates that the area's fire-suppression program doesn't meet ISO's minimum criteria.

ISO will advise its subscribing insurers of this classification change. The rating becomes effective September 1, 2016. DeKalb County homeowners should check with their insurance companies after that date to make sure these savings are applied.

Portion of City Street to be Closed Temporarily for Church Vacation Bible School

June 1, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Portion of City Street to be Closed Temporarily for Church Vacation Bible School

A portion of a city street will be closed temporarily five nights next week during Vacation Bible School activities at the Smithville First Baptist Church.

Each night starting on Sunday through Thursday, June 5-9 beginning at 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. there will be a road closure on North College Street between West Walnut Street and West Church Street due to high volume of children in that area.

The Smithville First Baptist Church will have Vacation Bible School Monday through Thursday, June 6-9 from 6-8 p.m. each night for kindergarten through 6th graders. The kick-off will be Sunday, June 5 at 5:30 p.m. (Free food, Bounce Houses, and Games). For more information: Like the First Baptist Smithville Face Book Page or contact the Church Office at 615-597-4275.

It’s Almost Jamboree Project Welcome Mat Time!

June 1, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Suzanne Williams

It’s Almost Jamboree Project Welcome Mat Time!

The 45th annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival is coming Friday and Saturday, July 1 & 2 and the Smithville-DeKalb Co. Chamber of Commerce invites all county businesses to again use their marquees or any type of message signs to welcome Jamboree visitors to our area.

“This marks the 15th year for the Chamber’s “Project Welcome Mat”, said Suzanne Williams, Executive Director of the Chamber. “ We have thousands of visitors coming into town, so we want to make every effort to show our guests that we appreciate them and welcome their business,” she said.

“We ask that businesses with changeable signs or marquees to post welcome greetings for our Jamboree visitors. The wording can be as simple or as elaborate as you chose. All businesses may participate ,” said Williams.

Plaques along with media recognition will be presented in 3 categories: "Best Worded," "Most Original" and the "People's Choice Award."

Call 597-4163 or email at swilliams@dekalbcountychamber.org if your business would like to be included in the contest. Wording should be in place no later than Friday, June 17th.

"Let's keep on showing folks how friendly the Smithville/DeKalb County area can be", said Williams

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