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Holmes Creek Road Bridge Construction Expected to Begin In September

July 12, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Kyle Hazel
Holmes Creek Road Bridge over Fall Creek

Construction on the new Holmes Creek Road Bridge over Fall Creek could begin by the end of September but the work may not be completed until next May.

Kyle Hazel, Civil Engineer of Professional Engineering Services in Sparta updated the Smithville Mayor and Board of Aldermen on the project during Monday night’s regular monthly city council meeting.

“The bridge is severely corroded. It has very low clearance to the water. You can’t even walk upright under this bridge. With those steel beams being that close (three or four feet) to a wet environment because there is always flow present there is never any drying of the beams which creates a perfect storm for a corrosive environment,” said Hazel.

Since the bridge was ordered closed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation last October, Hazel said work has been done to get a design plan for the new bridge approved by TDOT and to meet requirements by other agencies. Most of these hurdles have now been cleared and the project is almost ready to be advertised for bids. Hazel said a bid opening could come as early as mid-August.

“Of course the closing of the bridge prompted the design for the replacement of the bridge. When we were hired to provide our services to the city we knew there would be four hurdles to overcome. We needed the design plan approved by TDOT. We had to get permitted through the Corps of Engineers and TDEC. We had to work with the property owners to acquire any necessary rights of ways and temporary easements. And we have to work with the local utility companies if any utilities happen to be in conflict with the project,” said Hazel.

“We are close to having all the approvals. We do have the approved plans. We do have the permits. We do have the rights of ways. They have been submitted to TDOT. They have to give their blessing that we acquired those (rights of ways) in accordance with federal laws. And we have made contact with the local utilities. All of those ducks are lined up as soon as we receive the letter (from TDOT),” Hazel continued.

“They did attach one extra requirement that we did not anticipate for this project when we started it. And that was our plans were approved contingent upon us performing an asbestos survey on the bridge. I have touched base with the company that is performing that service for us. They did the survey about a week and a half ago. They have received the lab results back and there is no contaminant down there. Nothing hazardous or any kind of asbestos containing materials. We’re clear on that,” he added.

“Whenever we do receive TDOT’s approval for the right of way acquisition I’ll be contacting (city officials) to say we’re ready to go. We can prepare an advertisement for the newspaper. I anticipate that will be in a week or two. Sometime this month. Then we will set a bid date. We need a few weeks to advertise the project to give contractors an opportunity to pick up plans and prepare their bids. I’m anticipating we’ll have a bid opening probably by mid-August. From there, once the bids are received upon your approval we will submit that information to TDOT. A contract will then be prepared between TDOT and the City of Smithville. Once signed, the contract will be sent to Nashville for final processing which takes from four to six weeks after the bid is awarded. That would put us at the end of September. That’s when you can expect construction to begin,” said Hazel.

The contractor will then likely have from 150 to 210 days to have the bridge completed depending upon the severity of the winter. “They will not be able to get it all finished before winter time. So if we get a bid in the middle of August and get somebody down there to work by the end of September then we’ll have October, November, and December. It would be hard to get much done in January and February because they are really slow months but work would pick up in March and April. I’d say May of next year (completion date),” Hazel added.

The bridge, at the bottom of town hill behind Love-Cantrell Funeral Home, has been closed since October 30.

The state forced the City of Smithville to close the bridge due to a Tennessee Department of Transportation Evaluation Report which detailed various bridge deficiencies making it potentially unsafe.

The project is being funded under the state's 1990 Bridge Grant Program. The Tennessee Department of Transportation is to pay for 98% of the costs to replace the bridge. The local matching portion is to be 2%.

Tennessee Rush Wins AAU Division II National Championship

July 12, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tennessee Rush Wins AAU Division II National Championship
Kadee Ferrell and Kennedy Agee
Coach Josh Agee

Local coach Josh Agee and the 7th grade team of the AAU organization Tennessee Rush played in the AAU National Basketball Championship July 3-8 in Kingsport. The girls of the Rush team were up against 27 other teams of stellar competition from all across the United States. The team was undefeated for the tournament with a record of 7-0. They were able to defeat teams that ultimately finished 2nd, 4th, and 5th respectively.

AAU D2 NATIONAL TOURNAMENT SCORES:
RUSH 38, IL Lady Lightning 33
RUSH 60, Georgia Metros 25
RUSH 53, AL Lady Legends 21
RUSH 36, Murfreesboro Force 33
RUSH 56, CA Payes Place 46
RUSH 49, PA In The Zone 44
RUSH 47, IN Lady Impact 39

The team is comprised of 9 girls from the Upper Cumberland area: Kennedy Agee (DeKalb Co.), Kadee Ferrell (DeKalb Co.), Haylee Johnson (Fentress Co.), Shelby Beaty (Fentress Co.), Hailey Cronk (Overton Co.), Abbi Bilbrey (Pickett Co.), Chloe Burton (Pickett Co.), Bailey Evans (Pickett Co.), and Kyndal Ludick (Macon Co.) They are coached by Josh Agee and Lisa Cronk. This team also won the Division II AAU State Championship in May 2016 as well as many other tournaments throughout the season.

Tennessee Rush was created in 2009 by Matt Ferrell, Pickett Co. Middle School coach and basketball fanatic. The program has grown over the past 7 years and continues to grow and blossom.

County Firefighters Respond to Garage Fire

July 12, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Fire Chief Donny Green

Members of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department were summoned to a garage fire around noon Monday on Dale Ridge Road.

County Fire Chief Donny Green said a passing motorist spotted smoke coming from Edward Maynard’s detached garage and alerted him as well as Central Dispatch.

According to Chief Green, the fire started shortly after Maynard, who had been mowing, placed his riding lawn mower back in the garage and then went in his house.

When firefighters arrived they saw heavy smoke coming from the garage, which sets only a few feet from Maynard’s home. Chief Green said flames were starting to penetrate the ceiling of the garage into the loft but firefighters were able to bring the fire under control before it spread. The riding lawn mower was destroyed, but the garage, though damaged, was saved.

No one was injured.

Members of the Main Station and Liberty Station of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the tanker truck, DeKalb EMS, and Sheriff’s Department.

School Board Asked to Address Inequities in Supplement Pay for DCHS Coaches

July 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
School Board Members meet with DCHS Quarterback Club
School Board Asked to Address Inequities in High School Supplement Pay for Coaches

The DeKalb County Board of Education is being asked to address inequities in supplement pay particularly for the football, basketball, and cheer coaches at the high school.

Members of the DCHS Quarterback Club addressed the school board’s athletic oversight committee during a meeting Monday night concerned that the current supplement pay plan does not reward coaches for their value in contributing to the success of their sports programs and for the pride they help instill in the community.

Last month, the school board voted to move $5,000 within categories of the proposed 2016-17 budget to help rectify the inequities for these coaches, whose supplements rank below those in other counties in the district and across the state. While the board has not yet voted on how the extra money would be divided, under consideration is a proposal to give the high school head football and boys basketball coaches, Steve Trapp and Lynus Martin an additional $2,000 and for the high school football and basketball head cheer coaches to each get an extra $500. The new girls basketball coach at DCHS would not get a raise since he has just been hired.

But football boosters say while the board’s move is a step in the right direction, more should be done.

Under the current system, high school head coaches earn a $5,000 supplement per year. Assistant coaches get $2,785 or $2,400 for non-employee assistants. Cheer head coaches receive $835 per year.

Boosters say these sports demand practically a year round commitment from coaches and for the time and effort put in to prepare for each season, they should be compensated accordingly

For example, they point out that Coach Trapp has received the same supplement pay, $5,000 a year for the last twelve years, the same as his predecessor in 2004.

“Coaching is not merely showing up with your team on game day. It is an ongoing process of teaching self-discipline that includes development of life skills; not just athletic skills. Every coach has an opportunity to be a life coach. We are asking our school board members to show meaningful commitment towards recruiting and retaining quality coaches who commit and dedicate themselves to making a difference,” said Donny Green, speaking on behalf of the Boosters.

The Boosters have proposed a new pay plan for the School Board to consider which would require a total increase in budgetary funding of $16,620. This proposal only addresses proposed supplement pay increases for high school football, basketball, and cheer coaches and their assistants and would not affect the pay of coaches or assistants in other sports.

“When comparing supplemental coaching pay across our district, football, basketball, and cheer in DeKalb County rank near the very bottom. In contrast, cross country, golf, tennis, and soccer coach supplemental pays rank # 1 in the district. We need to value all of our coaches in a fair manner,” said Green.

Under the proposal, Boosters asked that the supplement for the high school head football and basketball coaches be increased from $5,000 to $8,000 per year each and that the pay for their assistant coaches (4 for football and 2 for basketball) each be increased from $2,785 ($2,400 for non-employee assistants) to $3,500 each. Supplement pay for the high school football and basketball cheer coaches would go from $835 to $2,500 but it would have to be divided among the head cheer coaches and their assistants.

“Our proposal is simply to accomplish fairness by recognizing and rewarding the value contributed to the success of our sports programs, the image of our school, and pride in our community,” Green said.

Board members acknowledged that the current pay plan for coaches is flawed but contend the problem can’t be fixed overnight. While not signaling whether they favored the Boosters’ plan, members of the School Board say they are committed to working toward a viable solution over the next few months while offering a $5,000 “band aid” approach in the meantime.

Dowelltown Man Charged with Statutory Rape

July 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Nathan Joseph Gohs
Mark Allen Thomas
Clay Andrew Bain

A 20 year old Dowelltown man is charged with two counts of statutory rape for allegedly having sex with a 16 year old girl who is now pregnant.

Nathan Joseph Gohs of Dale Ridge Road is under a $20,000 bond and his court date is July 14.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said from June to July, Gohs allegedly had sex with a 16 year old girl twice at a residence on Students Home Road.

48 year old Mark Allen Thomas of Woodbury is charged with aggravated assault and failure to appear. His bond on the assault charge is $2,500 but he is being held without bond for the separate offense of failure to appear. He will make a court appearance July 14. Sheriff Ray said that on February 25 Thomas allegedly assaulted his sister by hitting her in the face with the handle of a hammer causing redness around the left eye and cheek.

24 year old Clay Andrew Bain of Lakeview Drive, Smithville is charged with evading arrest, aggravated assault, and resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest, or search. He was also served with warrants for violation of an order of protection and violation of probation. His bond totals $19,500 but he is being held without bond for violation of probation. His next court date is July 14.

Sheriff Ray said that on Friday, June 24 Bain rammed his automobile into another vehicle forcing it off the roadway into a ditch and putting the driver in danger of serious bodily injury. Bain then became irate and tried to fight the other driver. A deputy came upon the scene and stopped to separate the two men. Bain was ordered to get back in his vehicle and turn the engine off. Instead, Bain drove away.

Bain was also served later with a warrant for intentionally coming about a woman at her residence on Friday, June 24 who has an active order of protection against him through November 12.

Two Arrested on Meth Charges

July 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page
Shannon Lynn Newby
Jessica Lauren Shaffer

A man and woman are facing drug charges after Sheriff’s Department detectives found items used to make methamphetamine in the trunk of their car during a probation search.

50 year old Shannon Lynn Newby of Anthony Avenue, Smithville and 25 year old Jessica Lauren Shaffer of Juniper Lane, Smithville are each charged with promotion of the manufacture of methamphetamine. Newby was further issued citations for simple possession of a schedule II drug (morphine and methamphetamine) and for simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana). Shaffer was cited for simple possession of a schedule VI drug (marijuana) and a schedule II drug (methamphetamine).

Bond for each is $25,000 and they will appear in court on July 14.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Thursday, July 7 two detectives conducted a probation search of Newby and Shaffer and found in the trunk of his car, two-18 ounce cans of crystal drano, one bottle of brake fluid, one gallon of Coleman camp fuel, four ice compress cold packs, 30 hypodermic needles, and a blue funnel. All these items are known to be ingredients to produce methamphetamine.

Detectives also found in Newby’s possession .04 grams of methamphetamine, five-60 milligram morphine pills, and .3 grams of marijuana. Found in the floor board of the car was a marijuana cigarette believed to be Schaffer’s and inside her cigarette pack was .1 gram of ice (methamphetamine).

Counselors Available to Assist with Insurance Enrollment

July 11, 2016

The DeKalb County Health Department invites you to receive free, face-to-face assistance with applying for health insurance. Your local county health department has a certified application counselor available to assist with applying for insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace for Affordable Care Act plans, TennCare and CoverKids.

Individuals and families may receive help applying, looking at different health insurance plans and enrolling. All health insurance offered through the Marketplace meets the minimum essential coverage requirements.

Counselors will help you learn about plans for which you qualify based on your income and the number of people in your household. You must apply for Marketplace plans during the open enrollment period beginning in November 2016 and running through February 2017.

You may qualify for a special enrollment period if any of the following happen to you outside of the open enrollment period: losing existing health insurance; moving; getting married; or having a child. You have 60 days from the time of the event to qualify for a special insurance enrollment! Get help throughout the year from your local health center with enrolling in a special enrollment period.

You may also receive assistance with applying for TennCare or CoverKids any time throughout the year.

Call the DeKalb County Health Department today to see about scheduling an appointment.
Megan Kinslow, Certified Application Counselor
DeKalb County Health Department
(615) 597-7599

Boy Scouts Soar to New Heights with Two Eagles

July 11, 2016
by: 
Bill Conger
James Mathis (left) and Nate Sherwood (right) were presented the Eagle award, the highest honor in Boy Scouts at a special ceremony in June
(Left to right) James Sherwood, Will Sherwood, Nate Sherwood, and Jen Sherwood. (Nate's brother, Jim, just received the Eagle award at the end of last year.)
(Left to Right) Will Mathis (brother), Richard Mathis, Eagle Scout James Mathis, and Mary Mathis.

Two members of Boy Scout Troop 347 recently reached the climactic chapter of their scouting career when they received Scouting’s highest honor. Nate Sherwood and James Mathis earned the Eagle Scout award. They were acknowledged for the remarkable accomplishment at the Eagle Court of Honor Sunday, June 12 at Smithville First Methodist Church.

Sherwood is the son of Scout Master’s Will and Jen Sherwood, and Mathis is the son of Richard and Mary Mathis. For his Eagle project, Sherwood cleared overgrowth and cleaned directional signs around Center Hill Lake. Working with the Corps of Engineers for approval, Nate was able to help 4 million visitors have better visibility of creeks and landmarks from the water when they are enjoying the lake. Sherwood started his 11 year venture in scouting as a Tiger Scout, and earned his Arrow of Life award as a Webelo. So far he has earned 35 merit badges as a Boy Scout.

For James’ Eagle Scout project, he planted bushes around the stage at the park next to the Smithville Fire Department. Mathis joined Cub Scouts in 2005, the same year as his friend, Nate, and earned his Arrow of Light in 201.

In other news, 13 boys and 2 adult leaders experienced the great outdoors for summer camp June 19-24 at Camp Craig on the Boxwell Reservation in Gallatin. Jonathan Birmingham, Zackary Cantrell, Carter Dias, Friedrich Dodge, Sebastian Dodge, Jake Ramsey, Cody Robinson, Arthur Sullivan, Jacob Williams, Caleb Taylor, Gavin Conger, Brandon Sabotka, and Darren Waggoner dodged the bugs, enjoyed swimming, fishing, and other activities. Assistant Scout Masters David Robinson and Bill Conger supervised the trip.

Some of the boys took on the challenging high adventures in the C.O.P.E. program. C.O.P.E. stands for Challenging Outdoor Personal Experience and comprises a series of outdoor challenges, beginning with basic group initiative games and progressing to more complicated low-course and high-course activities. Scouts also worked on a variety of merit badges including cooking, camping, weather, forestry, music, leather/woodcarving, electricity, digital technology, first aid, and a variety of other activities.

While at camp, elections were held for new troop position. Jonathan Birmingham was chosen as Senior Patrol Leader while Darren Waggoner was named Assistant Senior Patrol Leader. Jacob Williams will serve as Chaplin while Arthur Sullivan is the Assistant Chaplin. Friedrich Dodge was chosen as the Order of Arrow Leader.

Named to the position of Patrol Leader were Arthur Sullivan and Cody Robinson while Zackary Cantrell was elected as Assistant Patrol Leader for the Raccoons. Will Stephens will serve as Quartermaster, and Caleb Taylor will be his assistant.

Bain Charged with Evading Arrest

July 11, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested 24 year old Clay Andrew Bain last week for evading arrest.

An officer was dispatched to South College Street on Wednesday, July 6 due to a suspicious person and Bain was found near the intersection of College and Bryant Streets. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department informed the police officer that Bain had several active warrants against him. When the officer told him that he would have to be taken into custody, Bain attempted to flee and refused to comply with commands to stop. Police caught him shortly afterward. Bain’s bond is $3,500 and his court date is July 28.

39 year old Shannon E. Taylor was arrested on Friday, July 1 for resisting stop, frisk, halt, arrest or search. According to Police, Taylor refused to comply with an officers verbal command to not enter a relative’s residence for fear that Taylor would attempt to cause a family member harm. Taylor had to be physically restrained. Bond for Taylor is $2,500 and her court date is July 21.

19 year old Shawn Anthony Newhouse was cited on Friday, July 1 for disorderly conduct. Police responded to a location on Webb Street during the Fiddler's Jamboree and discovered that Newhouse was engaging in a fight with others and creating a hazardous and physically offensive condition for those around him including children who were present. His court date is July 21.

39 year old Michelle Lee Gurley was cited on Friday, July 1 for shoplifting. Gurley was observed by Wal-Mart employees concealing items in her purse with the intention of depriving the store of its property. Her court date is July 14.

Slow Poke Law Takes Effect

July 10, 2016
by: 
Dwayne Page

A Slow Poke Law went into effect in Tennessee on July 1.

It is designed to keep someone from "camping out" in the fast lane of a highway with three or more lanes.

The law says the fast lane - the one on the far left - is to be used only for overtaking and passing another vehicle.

Those found in violation of the new law are subject to paying a $50 fine.

Bill Summary

This bill prohibits a person from operating a vehicle in the passing lane on an interstate or multilane divided highway that has three or more lanes in each direction, except when overtaking or passing a vehicle that is in a non-passing lane. A violation will be a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine only of $50.00.

The Slow Poke Law will not apply:

(1) When the volume of traffic does not permit the vehicle to safely merge into a non-passing lane;

(2) When inclement weather or an official traffic control device makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane;

(3) When obstructions or hazards exist in a non-passing lane;

(4) When avoiding traffic moving onto the highway from an acceleration or merging lane;

(5) When highway design makes it necessary to drive in the passing lane to exit or turn left;

(6) To authorized emergency vehicles engaged in official duties; or

(7) To vehicles engaged in highway maintenance and construction operations.

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