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Will Grocery Stores in Smithville be Allowed to Sell Wine?

April 18, 2016

Will grocery stores in Smithville soon be allowed to sell wine?

That’s a question voters may be asked in November.

DeKalb County Administrator of Elections, Dennis Stanley, said someone has already inquired about a petition drive to place the question on the November 8 election ballot.

“I was recently contacted by a spokesman of an organization that wants to begin a petition drive in Smithville in the very near future,” Stanley said. “That petition would ask the election commission to hold a local option election to authorize the sale of wine at retail food stores.”

"A wine at retail food stores referendum may only be called by petition of registered voters in jurisdictions which have held and passed either a referendum to authorize retail package stores or a referendum to authorize the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises.

“Two years ago Smithville voters approved retail package stores, thus making the city eligible for wine at retail food stores,” Stanley said. “To call a wine at retail food stores referendum, a petition must be signed by 10% or more of the registered voters casting a ballot for governor in the last city election.”

In addition, the petition must be filed with the election commission no later than 75 days before the upcoming November election.

“The person I spoke to recently was well aware of the rules and regulations regarding petitions for referendums and was just informing me someone would be in town soon to begin the petition drive and have it to our office before the deadline,” Stanley said.

If the effort is successful, that will be the second liquor referendum on the ballot in November. A petition to call for an election to authorize alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises has already been turned in and Stanley said there were enough names to put the issue on the ballot.

Both referendums apply only to the City of Smithville. He also noted that no liquor referendum may be placed on the same ballot or conducted on the same day of a primary election.

“The city will conduct its normal election on August 4, but that election falls on the same day as the Tennessee State Primary,” Stanley said. “As a result, the liquor referendums must be held in November.

“Retail food store” is defined in the law as a business that derives at least 20 percent of its sales from the retail sale of food and food ingredients and has floor space of at least 1,200 square feet. The law requires that food sales be those types of sales taxed at the lower, 5 percent state rate, rather than the higher sales tax rate applied to sales of prepared food. It appears that this definition will prevent most convenience stores and gas stations from obtaining licenses to sell wine.

If voters approve the sale of wine in grocery stores, the Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be the body to issue “retail food store wine licenses”
Applicants must submit a certificate from the city, signed by the mayor, stating that the applicant has not been convicted of a felony in the past ten years and that the applicant has a location for their business inside city limits. If a city fails to issue a certificate to an applicant within 60 days after receiving a written application, the commission will waive the certificate requirement.

Store ownership is not required in order to receive a license, as store owners may enter into franchise or management agreements with licensees. Cities may not limit the number of retail food store wine licenses to be issued in their jurisdiction nor require that applicants reside in the city.

Grocery stores located within 500 feet of package stores may not obtain licenses to sell wine until July 1, 2017, unless the package store owner provides written permission to the commission. Any package store owner who refuses such permission cannot sell those additional items permitted by the law until such time as the grocery store obtains permission to sell wine.

Man Charged with Domestic Assault and Child Abuse or Neglect

April 18, 2016
Dwayne Page
Francisco David Velasquez
Samer Walid Abdalla
David Dewayne Anderson
Charles Dakota Lee Derrick
John Thomas Mason
Autumn Danielle White
Ricardo Carabeo

A man has been charged with domestic assault and child abuse or neglect for an attack on his wife and 15 year old step son.

31 year old Francisco David Velasquez of R. Arnold Road is under a $7,000 bond and he will be in court May 26.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Saturday, April 16 a deputy responded to a residence on R. Arnold Road due to a possible physical domestic in progress. Upon arrival the officer learned that Velasquez had grabbed and pulled his wife's hair in a violent manner and asked her if she wanted to fight. He was determined to have been the primary aggressor and was placed under arrest.

During the investigation the officer also spoke to Valasquez's 15 year old step son who said that Velasquez got upset with him and called him outside where Valasquez grabbed him by his hair and jerked him up. Valasquez then grabbed the boy by the collar of his shirt, ripping it and asked if he wanted to fight.

34 year old Andrea Nicole Bass of Midway Road, Smithville is cited for no seatbelt and simple possession of a schedule IV drug. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 16 a deputy stopped a red Chevrolet Blazer driven by a woman who was not wearing a seatbelt. After stopping the automobile, the officer spoke with the driver, Bass. He asked for and received consent to search the vehicle. The deputy found 54 blue football shaped pills identified as xanax for which Bass had no prescription. She will make a court appearance on May 26.

35 year old Samer Walid Abdalla of Morgan Drive, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Thursday, April 14 Abdalla showed up for General Sessions Court intoxicated. A deputy , who was in the courtroom at the time, saw that Abdalla was very unsteady on his feet and his eyes were bloodshot . His behavior was very erratic. Abdalla submitted to but performed poorly on field sobriety tasks. He was placed under arrest.

46 year old David Dewayne Anderson of Gard Lane, Smithville is charged with a second offense of driving on a revoked license. He was also issued citations for simple possession of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine), violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), possession of drug paraphernalia, and simple possession of a schedule IV drug (xanax). His bond is $3,000 and he will make a court appearance on April 21. Sheriff Ray said that on Wednesday, April 13 a detective spotted Anderson operating a motor vehicle on Short Mountain Highway. Knowing that Anderson's driver license were revoked, he made a traffic stop of the automobile. A computer check confirmed the offense. Anderson's prior DRL was in Rutherford County in 2011. The detective searched Anderson and found in his pants pocket a purple container with a white powdery substance that weighed 0.2 grams and field tested positive for methamphetamine. The container also held half of a green pill that Anderson said was xanax. Four needles and straws were recovered from his vehicle.

20 year old Charles Dakota Lee Derrick of Snow Hill Road, Smithville is charged with possession of a schedule VI drug for resale. His bond is $5,000 and he will be in court on May 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, April 15 a detective executed a search warrant at Derrick's home at 500 Old Snow Hill Road. Found in Derrick's bedroom and inside a trash can were 4.3 ounces of marijuana. The detective also found a set of scales and a box of sandwich baggies in the room. Under the kitchen sink inside a trash can was a jar containing 0.2 ounces of marijuana. Derrick admitted that the marijuana belonged to him. According to Sheriff Ray, detectives obtained the search warrant after investigating Derrick on suspicion of illegal sales of drugs.

21 year old John Thomas Mason of Blue Springs Road, Smithville is charged with assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will make a court appearance on May 5. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 16 while being incarcerated in the DeKalb County Jail, Mason struck another inmate with his fist causing an eye injury.

41 year old Autumn Danielle White of Davis Street, Smithville is charged with violation of probation and driving under the influence. She was also issued citations for driving on a revoked license, failure to exercise due care, possession of drug paraphernalia, violation of the implied consent law, and violation of the open container law. Her bond on the DUI is $1,500 and she will be in court on May 26. She is being held without bond for the violation of probation. White will make a court appearance on the VOP on May 20. Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, April 16 a deputy was on routine patrol when he came upon a wreck on McMinnville Highway. The officer stopped and found that White had been driving the vehicle involved in the accident. Her eyes were bloodshot. Her speech was slurred and she was unsteady on her feet. White performed poorly on field sobriety tasks but she refused to submit to a blood test. During a search of the vehicle, the deputy found an open container of alcohol and a pouch which held several syringes and a spoon.

34 year old Ricardo Carabeo of Vaughn Lane, Smithville is charged with driving under the influence. He was also issued citations for violation of the implied consent law, driving on roadways laned for travel, violation of financial responsibility (no insurance), violation of the open container law, and driving on an expired license. He is under a $1,500 bond and his court date is May 26. Sheriff Ray said that on Sunday, April 17 a deputy observed a green car leave its lane of travel several times on Sparta Highway. The officer stopped the vehicle and spoke to the driver, Carabeo. He had a strong odor of alcohol coming from his person. His speech was slurred. He was unsteady on his feet and his eyes were glossy. Carabeo said he had consumed two beers. He submitted to one field sobriety task and performed poorly. He refused to perform any further tasks. Carabeo was placed under arrest.

Sheriff's Department Gets Grant for Litter Pickup on State Highways

April 18, 2016
Dwayne Page
Sheriff's Department Gets Grant for Litter Pickup on State Highways using Inmate Labor

For several years the county has received an annual litter grant from the state to compensate the sheriff's department for providing roadside pickup of litter on county roads using inmate labor. This year, the state is also providing grant funds for litter pickup on state roads in DeKalb County.

"This year we were able to get an additional grant where we can pick up litter on state roadways here in our county," said Sheriff Patrick Ray. "The grant pays for three cycles of litter pickup each year with an optional fourth cycle if needed. This grant has over 100 miles of listed state roadways .These roads are Sparta Highway, Nashville Highway, Cookeville Highway, McMinnville Highway, Keltonburg Road, Antioch Road, Belk Road, New Home Road, Short Mountain Highway, Murfreesboro Highway, Dale Ridge Road, Wolf Creek Road, Medley Amonett Road, Temperance Hall Road, and Lancaster Highway. We have 30 days to remove the litter from these state roads before the mowers arrive to cut the grass on the state rights of ways. We will be using inmate labor to pick up the trash on the state roads just like we do with our county roads litter grant program," he said.

Sheriff Ray offers some safety tips for motorists who may approach these litter pickup work zones. These simple tips could save your life or the life of a worker in one of the litter zones.

*Always think orange. When you see orange signs, cones, or barrels, expect a roadside work zone ahead.

*Stay alert. Look for narrow driving lanes and highway workers ahead.

*Pay attention. Work zone signs will tell you exactly what to expect ahead.

*Don't follow too closely. Maintain a safe distance on all sides of your vehicle.

*Minimize distractions. Drivers should keep their eyes on the roadway especially in a work zone.

*Do not talk on a cell phone or adjust your radio while in one of these zones.

*Slow down. You may encounter slowed or stopped traffic in an instant or encounter workers on or beside of the roadway.

You will know you are entering into a litter pickup zone when you see orange signs that say "Litter Pickup Ahead".

Sign Up for 4-H Summer Camp!

April 16, 2016
Leigh Fuson

The weather is warming up and school is winding down. Summer will be here before we know it! Keep your kids busy and active this summer by signing them up now for 4-H camp. There are several options available for 4th-8th graders.

Junior camp is for anyone in 4th-6th grade and takes place at Clyde York 4-H center in Crossville. This camp will take place June 6th-10th. It features shooting sports, arts and crafts, swimming and a water slide, canoeing and kayaking, sports and games, and much more! Cost is $290 which includes all meals, room & board, transportation, t-shirt, and activities. Registration deadline is May 18th.

Junior High camp also takes place in Crossville, May 30-June 3rd. It is available for 7th & 8th graders. The theme this year is “The Amazing Race: Tennessee 4-H Style” and will feature fun challenges and contests, zip line, ultimate Frisbee, along with the traditional camp activities of junior camp. Cost is $290 and includes everything besides transportation. Registration deadline is May 1st.

Electric camp is open to 6th and 7th graders and takes place at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. It will be held June 28-July 1st. Campers learn about electricity and energy through fun, hands-on activities. They also get to visit Dollywood! Cost is $265, and includes transportation, boarding at UT, meals, and activities. Sign up by May 1st.

Line and design camp is for 6th-8th graders and will be held July 12-14th at Tennessee Tech in Cookeville. Activities include arts and crafts, sewing, shopping, and more! Cost is $125, but transportation is not included. Register by June 1st.

“Tennessee 4-H camps are an opportunity for youth to explore their relationship with the world around them while at the same time having loads of fun. Tennessee 4-H camps allow youth to “learn by doing,” through 4-H’s experiential learning method of 'Do, Reflect, and Apply.' Youth are engaged and involved from the time they arrive to the time they depart,” said Daniel Sarver, a youth development specialist with University of Tennessee Extension.

For more information and to register for camp, please stop by the UT/TSU Extension office located in County Complex or call 615-597-4945. 4-H is a proud part of UT/TSU Extension, the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the TSU Cooperative Extension Program. UT/TSU Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment through the cooperation of county, state, and federal governments.

DCHS to get New Gym Floor

April 15, 2016
Dwayne Page

It's 53 years old. It's been refinished several times. But signs of age have begun to show in the DCHS gymnasium floor and recently school officials learned it was termite infested. So the old floor will soon be replaced with a new one.

The Board of Education Thursday night authorized Director of Schools Patrick Cripps to get a company to do the project.

Cripps told the board that while there have been issues with the gym floor, the termite problem was not known until recently. "We actually thought it was a moisture issue. We had a company come in and when they cut the floor open down on one end termites started flying everywhere. The moisture from the termites is starting to cause warpage of the floor. It's now on the playing surface and getting worse. We have sanded it down as much as we could and put wood filler in but it is not in good shape. It's especially not in playing shape," said Cripps.

The estimated cost to replace the gym floor is $153,000 but Cripps said money is available in the school system's capital outlay fund to cover it.

"We had a couple of people come in and look at the floor and give us prices on what products they could give us. The floor has been there since 1963. It has never been changed (replaced). I think the last time they screened it down they said that would be the last time they could because they were just about down to the nail heads on it," said Cripps.

"For the safety of our kids and having a nice product, I believe this is needed. I don't want anyone to think we're putting athletics before education. That is not the case here. We have to look at a safety issue with our kids and the possibility that somebody could get hurt playing ball. The money will come out of our capital outlay fund. That money is used for projects such as this to enhance the building. It will not come out of any teacher line item in the budget or anything like that. It (capital outlay fund) is designated for the upkeep of our buildings," Cripps said.

Burklow Named Regional Communications Coordinator for Saint Thomas Health

April 15, 2016
Shan Burklow

Saint Thomas Health is proud to announce the addition of Shan Burklow as the new Regional Communications Coordinator for Saint Thomas ministries across the area. Burklow will coordinate marketing efforts for five hospitals including Saint Thomas DeKalb, Saint Thomas Stones River, Saint Thomas Highlands, Saint Thomas River Park, and Saint Thomas Rutherford.

Prior to this position, Burklow was formerly the Director of Marketing for Saint Thomas DeKalb in Smithville, Tennessee and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury, Tennessee.

“We were very grateful to have Shan lead our marketing as director for Saint Thomas DeKalb and Stones River Hospitals over the past several years.” said Sue Conley - CEO for Saint Thomas DeKalb and Stones River Hospitals, “Although we will miss her daily interaction at our facilities, we are proud that Saint Thomas Health has recognized her abilities, and look forward to what she will contribute to our region as a whole.”

In addition to her professional responsibilities, Burklow is actively involved in the local community and across the Upper Cumberland. She is the Vice President of the Smithville-DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce, and serves on various charitable boards. Burklow hosts a national broadcast for WCTE TV, volunteers her time for local fundraising efforts, along with hosting multiple charity events.

“I am honored to accept this new role with Saint Thomas Health,” said Burklow, “It has been my pleasure to work with some of the most caring people on earth, and I look forward to growing that base of people across our regional hospitals and the Saint Thomas Communications Team in Nashville. Our hospitals are full of brilliant and compassionate people that spend their lives taking care of others. It makes me a better person to know them.”

Burklow resides in Smithville, Tennessee. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, working in her flower gardens, crocheting, and spending time with her husband, Andy, and four children.

Saint Thomas Health is Middle Tennessee’s faith-based, not-for-profit health care system united as one healing community. Saint Thomas Health is focused on transforming the healthcare experience and helping people live healthier lives, with special attention to the poor and vulnerable. The regional health system includes nine hospitals: Saint Thomas Hospital for Spinal Surgery, Saint Thomas Midtown Hospital and Saint Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro, Saint Thomas Hickman Hospital in Centerville, Saint Thomas DeKalb Hospital in Smithville, Saint Thomas Highlands Hospital in Sparta, Saint Thomas River Park Hospital in McMinnville and Saint Thomas Stones River Hospital in Woodbury. A comprehensive network of affiliated joint ventures, medical practices, clinics and rehabilitation facilities complements the hospital services and covers a 68-county area. Saint Thomas Health is a member of Ascension, a Catholic organization that is the largest not-for-profit health system in the United States. For more information, visit

Ascension ( is a faith-based healthcare organization dedicated to transformation through innovation across the continuum of care. As the largest non-profit health system in the U.S. and the world’s largest Catholic health system, Ascension is committed to delivering compassionate, personalized care to all with special attention to persons in poverty and struggling the most. In FY2015, Ascension provided nearly $2 billion in care of persons living in poverty and other community benefit programs. Approximately 150,000 associates and 35,000 aligned providers serve in 1,900 sites of care – including 129 hospitals and more than 30 senior living facilities – in 24 states and the District of Columbia. In addition to healthcare delivery, Ascension subsidiaries provide a variety of services and solutions including physician practice management, venture capital investing, treasury management, biomedical engineering, clinical care management, information services, risk management, and contracting through Ascension’s own group purchasing organization.

Bulldog Boosters Get Okay to Build Baseball Facility

April 15, 2016
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb West School Bulldog Baseball Boosters Club plans to build a 40 x 100 foot facility on campus which is to include hitting cages, restrooms, concession stand, storage, office, and locker room.

The Board of Education gave approval for the project during Thursday night's regular monthly meeting held at Smithville Elementary School.

"The baseball boosters approached me about wanting to build a hitting building to the side of the baseball field. Funding would be through them (boosters). They started this process several years ago by saving money through their fundraisers. They're getting to the point now where they can start. But we haven't done anything until we get board approval to break ground if that is something you allow us to do," said DeKalb West School Principal Sabrina Farler.

"It is to be multipurpose. We want to have a concession stand rather than the portable building we now have there. It will also have two public restrooms in addition to the locker room, hitting cages, batting cages, and things like that," said Tony Cross, Booster Club President.

"I think we can do this for less than $40,000. What we would like to do this summer after school is out is to do the shell of the building and a concrete slab with all the plumbing. I think we can do that for just under $20,000. We have a 5K fundraiser that is doing really well and it runs Saturday morning. Initially we would like to put up the slab and the exterior of the building. Eighty percent of the building is batting cages and lanes. That could be used next baseball season. Just to be able to get in and out of the rain. I've talked with Earl (Jared), School System Maintenance Supervisor. I want to work hand in hand with him on what he wants as far as the bathrooms and things like that because if they are helping us service it we're going to do it like he needs it done. We initially want to get some things done this summer and we'll continue on with fundraisers to raise the remainder of the money. We'd like to have it (project) done next year," said Cross.

TN Ready test scores will not impact student's final grades

April 15, 2016
Dwayne Page

TN Ready test scores will not impact student's final grades this year in DeKalb County

The Board of Education took that action Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting held at Smithville Elementary School.

"The state department of education sent out a memo basically stating they were leaving it up to each county as to whether they wanted to count test scores on final grades. Teachers also have the option whether to count that toward their observation score. I would recommend that we do not count their test scores as part of their grade," said Director of Schools Patrick Cripps.

TNReady was originally an online test.

But when students across the state logged on in February to take the exam, the system crashed. It was later deemed that students would take a pencil and paper version of TNReady, which had to be shipped to school districts all over Tennessee.

Several school districts had asked the state to exclude the test stores from affecting teacher evaluations.

Many believe the changes to the test would result in poor test scores.

Teachers across the state have now been given the option to decide whether to link the test scores to their evaluations and it’s up to each school district to decide whether the test scores will impact students’ final grades.

Meanwhile in other action, the Board voted to change the pay date for Central Office staff along with maintenance employees, the Transportation Supervisor, and mechanics starting with the 2016-17 school year.

The action taken will adjust the pay cycle for these employees who are affected by pre-payment of salary in advance of work being performed.

Director of Schools Cripps said the change would affect about 23 employees. "There have been concerns about paying those employees in advance. I have talked with our fiscal consultant and he said there is nothing illegal with paying them in July. What I would recommend is to pay those employees the 15th of each month instead of the 5th of each month. This would not apply to teachers," he said.

These employees will receive one check per month on the 15th of the month from July 15 to June 15 each year.

In his monthly report on personnel, Director Cripps announced that Libby McCormick, Librarian at Northside Elementary School, has been granted a leave as requested and that Christopher Moore, Educational Assistant at DeKalb Middle School has resigned.

Sheriff Donates Used Cell Phones to Genesis House

April 15, 2016
Sheriff Patrick Ray, Genesis House Advocate Rachel Pugh, and DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green

Sheriff Patrick Ray, on behalf of the citizens of DeKalb County, has presented Advocate Rachel Pugh from the Cookeville Genesis House, over 170 donated used cell phones collected by the sheriff's department.

"I want to thank the Citizens of DeKalb County for their cell phone donations," said Pugh. "We are a non-profit organization serving DeKalb County that helps victims of domestic and sexual violence. We take the donated phones, refurbish them, and give them to our clients as a way to contact law enforcement in case they find themselves in immediate danger or have an emergency. Some of the cell phones only will call 911. Others will be enabled to assist victims in finding housing and employment.”

“Every 14 seconds in our country, a woman is battered by her intimate partner," said Sheriff Ray. " Every 5 years, more women are killed by domestic violence than Americans killed in the Vietnam War. Sheriff Ray also expressed his concern about domestic violence adding that 20% of all murders are domestic violence related and 76% of rape and sexual assaults are committed by husbands, ex-husbands, boyfriends, family members or acquaintances".

"This year we were able to team with the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department in getting donated cell phones," Sheriff Ray said.

“Our department has accumulated a number of free cell phones that we no longer use," added DeKalb County Fire Chief Donny Green. "These phones came at no cost to the county and since we have no future need for them, we decided to partner in this effort by donating the phones because we know Genesis House will put them to good use and that they can make a difference in protecting lives; a mission that we have in common".

Sheriff Ray said he wants to thank the Citizens of DeKalb County and the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department for one of their largest cell phone donations ever. The sheriff’s department will be collecting used cell phones again this year. You may drop off any cell phones at the sheriff's office. "If you have a cell phone you no longer plan to use, whether or not it is functional, just drop it by the sheriff's department. You do not need to bring any phone accessories; just the phone. The sheriff's department collects these phones during the year and makes an annual donation on behalf of DeKalb County to the Genesis House," said Sheriff Ray.

Anyone who is a victim of domestic violence may contact Sheriff Ray at 615-597-4935 for information or for a ride to a domestic shelter in Cookeville. You may also call the 24 hour Genesis House Crisis Line at 1-800-707-5197 or 931-526-5197.

Pugh Receives $500 FBLA Scholarship

April 14, 2016
Braxton Pugh

Braxton Pugh received a $500 Scholarship at the Tennessee State Leadership Conference held recently in Chattanooga.

He received the Dr. Bill Radcliffe Scholarship that is for an FBLA member who plans to pursue a career in business and attend college at either a junior college or university.

Braxton plans to attend Motlow State Community College and then on to a four year college. He will be majoring in Business.


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