Local News Articles

Hendrixson and VanVranken Overall Winners of Relay for Life 5K

May 8, 2013
Travis Hendrixson and Kristen VanVranken

Travis Hendrixson was the overall winner in the male division of the Relay for Life 5K last Saturday, May 4. His time was 18:43.

Kristen VanVranken had the best time in the female division at 20:32

"The Relay 5K was a success despite the poor weather," said spokesman Roth Terrell.

"This was the largest group of Runners and Walkers the Relay 5K has ever experienced, with a total of 99 people," said Terrell. The Relay for Life 5K raised a total of $3,870.76.

"We would like to thank all of our sponsors for helping make this year's 5K a success," said Terrrell.

(CLICK LINK BELOW FOR PDF OF RELAY FOR LIFE 5K RESULTS)

Results for Relay for Life 5K 2013.pdf (182.35 KB)

The Smithville Police Department installs permanent drug take back box

May 8, 2013
Smithville Police Department installs permanent drug take back box

The Smithville Police Department has partnered with Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, Tennessee Department of Health, DeKalb Prevention Coalition, and Pioneer Credit and has announced its plan to introduce a permanent collection bin for the residents of DeKalb County to properly dispose of used or unwanted medication.

Through TDEC’s Pharmaceutical Collection Program, the permanent bin offers a safe and easy way to dispose of unwanted medication, while creating opportunities for residents to promote environmental protection and a safer community. National statistics suggest that nearly 90 percent of Americans improperly dispose of outdated or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter drugs.

“This joint effort is important to educate citizens on the appropriate disposal of pharmaceuticals, while increasing the number of locations for them to do so,” said TDEC Commissioner Bob Martineau. We need to make DeKalb's citizens aware that throwing medication away with the household garbage or flushing it is not a safe method of disposal. The permanent collection drop-off box offers DeKalb residents a safe and viable disposal option to keep drugs out of our water and off the streets.

The Smithville Police Department has agreed to provide the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation with a monthly report on the total amount of pounds collected. A permanent drug take back box has been installed at the Smithville Police Department. Anyone who wished to drop off any unwanted or unused medication can come by the police department during normal business hours, Monday thru Friday 8:00am -5:00pm and dispose of them. Anyone with any questions or who needs special assistance please contact Corporal Travis Bryant at the Smithville Police Department, 597-8210.

(Pictured:Left to right: Gianna Owens, Kay Quintero, Tim Watson, Officer Matt Farmer, Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs and Corporal Travis Bryant)

Legendary Stamps Quartet to visit Smithville for Elvis: Aloha 40

May 8, 2013
Stamps Quartet

Elvis Week 2013 kicks off on August 10, with a number of festivities planned to honor the late singer in his hometown of Memphis. However, Smithville, Tennessee, will have their own little slice of Elvis, as Presley's back-up touring group of the 1970's - the Stamps Quartet - will be in town as part of a show being called Elvis: Aloha 40.

Elvis: Aloha 40 will be held at the new DeKalb County Community Center on stage in the auditorium with two showings scheduled for Saturday, August 10. A matinee show will be held at 2:30 p.m., with a second show scheduled that evening at 7:00 p.m. Tickets for the event are $20 per person in advance, and $25 at the door the day of the show. A fundraiser is being held in conjunction with this show to raise money to purchase a curtain for the stage in the Community Center auditorium. Tickets for the event will go on sale in the coming weeks.

The theme of Elvis Week 2013 celebrates the 40th anniversary of one of the most historic events of the late singer's career, the Aloha From Hawaii television special. The Aloha concert was beamed live via satellite to over one billion people worldwide, making it one of the most watched live television events of all-time, surpassing even the moon landing of 1969. Smithville's Aloha 40 show featuring the Stamps will coincide with the Elvis Week theme and celebrate the peak moment in Presley's latter career.

"DeKalb County is both honored and excited to have a group of this historic stature come be one of the first major acts in our new facility," said County Mayor Mike Foster. "We hope to be able to have more shows like this in the future. That was one of our major goals when we initially opened the new center."

The event is being organized by Smithville native Tim Colwell, who has worked with the Stamps Quartet as part of country singer Ronnie McDowell's touring group. Colwell believes Elvis fans, both near and far, will come to Smithville for the chance to see a part of music history.

"We've traveled to cities big and small and the result is the same -- packed venues -- all to see a show related to Elvis," Colwell said. "Elvis may no longer be with us, but he's still as popular now as he ever was. It shows in the crowds that come to the Elvis shows I have played. People of all ages still love Elvis."

Elvis Week annually coincides with the date of the singer's death, August 16, 1977. Thousands upon thousands of fans from all around the world still flock to the singer's Graceland home in Memphis every August to pay tribute to the son of a Tupelo sharecropper who grew up to be the most popular individual performer of all-time.

The Stamps Quartet backed Elvis on stage and in the studio from November, 1971, until the singer's final show in Indianapolis, Indiana on June 26, 1977. The Stamps were set to board a plane for Portland, Maine to open a new tour with Elvis on the evening of August 16, 1977, when they heard the news of his death.

Originally organized in 1969, the Stamps were known as J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet until Sumner's death in 1998. Sumner was noted for long having the lowest recorded bass note, according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Long-time Stamps lead vocalist, Ed Enoch, was granted official ownership of the historic Stamps Quartet name in 2003, and the group has continued to tour venues all around the world.

In addition to Elvis Presley, the Stamps, over the years, have also provided back-up vocals for Jerry Lee Lewis, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson and Conway Twitty, just to name a select few. One of their most recent projects was singing back-up with Alan Jackson on his latest Gospel album.

Elvis: Aloha 40 will feature an opening performance by the legendary Stamps Quartet, followed by a full on Elvis tribute show, with the group - as they did for six years with Presley - providing the back-up vocals. Smithville resident, Tom Duggin, will provide the vocals for the Elvis part of the show, backed by Colwell and a local group of musicians known as "TCB." Much like the Presley stage show of the 70's, Elvis: Aloha 40 will feature a brass ensemble on stage as well as female back-up singers, in addition to the core musicians and the Stamps Quartet.

"It's exciting to be part of a show of this caliber, right here in my hometown," added Colwell. "This has always been a dream of mine. I know there are many who love Elvis, the Stamps, and their music, just as much as I do, and that makes it even more special to have it right here in Smithville."

The DeKalb County Community Center on South Congress Boulevard will be the central location for ticket purchases, with other venues to be possibly added. An announcement will be made as soon as tickets are available for purchase.

Liberty Mayor Edward Hale Decides Not to Seek Re-Election

May 7, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Liberty Mayor Edward Hale

After more than four decades of service to the town, Liberty Mayor Edward Hale has decided not to seek re-election in August. He will be leaving office once his term ends August 31.

" I feel like after serving all these years, it's just best for me to step down," said Mayor Hale in an interview with WJLE Monday.

In forty two years, Hale never lost an election, having first been elected mayor in 1971. In most of those years, he didn't even have an opponent in an election. Mayor Hale holds the distinction of being the current longest serving elected public official in DeKalb County.

It was his love for the town he was born and raised in that inspired him to seek the office and with the help of many townspeople who have served on the city council down through the years, Hale has worked to improve streets and sidewalks, restore local landmarks, and preserve history for future generations. In fact, as he prepares to leave office, Mayor Hale is proud that a new paving project has just been completed which will provide good streets for the citizens of Liberty for many years to come.

The Liberty election is set for Thursday, August 1st and a mayor and two aldermen will be elected that day. One person has already stepped forward to possibly succeed Hale as mayor. Liberty Alderman Dwight Mathis has picked up a qualifying petition from the election commission to seek the office of mayor. The two aldermen seats up for election are currently held by Jarrett Pistole and Howard Reynolds, Jr. Reynolds has picked up a petition to seek re-election as alderman.

Thursday, May 16 is the qualifying deadline to run in the Liberty election.

THP Promotes Eric McCormick to Sergeant for DeKalb and Smith County

May 7, 2013
Sergeant Eric McCormick

The Tennessee Highway Patrol has announced that Eric McCormick has been promoted to Sergeant for the counties of Smith and DeKalb in the 6th District Cookeville (District). Sgt. McCormick began his career with the Tennessee Highway Patrol in March of 1997. After completing the THP Academy he was assigned to a road position in Putnam County. Sgt. McCormick has remained in Putnam County for the past sixteen years.

Throughout his career he has served on several special assignments from the 2013 Presidential Inauguration to local special events. Sgt. McCormick has served on the Riot Control Unit and is a Crash Reconstructionist. He has acquired several certifications during his career and is an Instructor in various areas within the Department.

Trooper McCormick has escorted Tennessee Tech Football Coach Watson Brown for the past 6 years. He is a 2005 Graduate of the Northwestern University School of Staff and Command.

Prior to becoming a Trooper with the State of Tennessee He was a Deputy with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department and a native of DeKalb County. Sgt. McCormick, his wife Connie and three children, Grant, Grace, and Gaylin reside in Putnam County.

Sgt. Eric McCormick replaces Lt. Mark Dial who was promoted and is now stationed in Putnam County as Midnight Lieutenant.

Jones Injured in Pickup Truck Accident

May 7, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Noah Jones Injured in Pickup Truck Accident

A 20 year old Smithville man was injured when his pickup truck wrecked on Jacobs Pillar Road Monday afternoon.

Sergeant Eric McCormick of the Tennessee Highway Patrol said that Noah Jones was driving south in a 1998 GMC Sonoma pickup truck when he lost control. The truck went off the road, up an embankment, through a fence, struck a tree, and overturned, coming to rest on its wheels. Jones was reportedly ejected from the truck. He was taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

DUD Announces Rate Increase

May 7, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
DUD Announces Rate Increase

The DeKalb Utility District, for the second consecutive year, will be increasing water rates effective with bills due on July 10.

The seven percent rate hike last year and the seven percent increase this year is to help pay for construction of a water treatment plant. The DUD currently plans to increase rates again next year by up to another seven percent.

Basic rates for customers who use up to 2,000 gallons per month will increase by $1.33 to $20.33 (minimum bill) effective with bills due July 10. For monthly usage above 2,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons, the costs will be an additional $7.55 per thousand, an increase of 50 cents per thousand gallons. Customers who use more than 5,000 gallons per month will pay an additional $8.10 per thousand, also an increase of 50 cents per thousand. These rates will apply to all DeKalb Utility District customers except those who reside north of Hurricane bridge.

A customer, for example, who uses 6,000 gallons of water per month will see their bill increase from $47.75 to $51.08 plus tax.

DUD Board Chairman Roger Turney has explained during board meetings in the past year that while rates would have to increase over a three year period beginning last year, they will actually stabilize, if not decrease in time with this new plant. "We had to project to the state what our rate increases would be in order to pay for this water treatment plant. Our board passed a seven percent rate increase for last year, seven percent this year, and seven percent the third year with the stipulation that the third year that seven percent increase may not be that much. Let's talk about what that really means. At the end of that three years, the minimum bill will go up four dollars and twenty cents. That's not going to break anybody. I don't want anybody's water rate to go up but that's a small price to pay. We figure that our average customer uses about 6,000 gallons. At the end of the three year period, their water bill will go up $10.55," he said.

The DUD has been approved to receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 through the USDA Rural Development program and an Appalachian Regional Commission grant award in the amount of $500,000 to fund construction of a three million gallon a day water plant. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility is to be funded through a bond issue. Turney has said that the DUD also plans to refinance other loans to save money. "In this loan and grant we have applied for, we're refinancing some of the loans we already have at a savings of over $400,000 on the money that we have right now because of the historically low interest rates," he said.

The water plant project has been held up for several months after a group of DUD ratepayers and the City of Smithville, contending that a DUD water plant and subsequent water rate increases because of it were unnecessary, petitioned the state for a DUD rate review. The state's Utility Management Review Board held a hearing last month in Smithville and dismissed the ratepayer's petition. After a final order from that hearing is filed, the ratepayers and city have sixty days to file an appeal.

Smithville Police Detective Matt Holmes Promoted to Lieutenant

May 7, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Randy Caplinger, Shawn Jacobs, Matt Holmes, and Jimmy Poss

Smithville Detective Matt Holmes has been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant, effective July 1.

The aldermen Monday night voted unanimously to make the promotion upon the recommendation of Police Chief Randy Caplinger. Holmes' status as detective will be elevated to lead detective within the police department with this promotion.

"Even though he is young, Matt is one of the older officers here," said Chief Caplinger. "When Matt was promoted to detective, it carries the rank of a sergeant. If anyone can't reach me, he is the man they call if we are going to a crime scene. I use him in a lot in the supervisory positions. The men (police officers) have a real good rapport with Matt. He has been a very special officer for all of us. Since he (Matt) has been here if you'll go back a few years I think you'll notice how much of a change there has been in investigations and crimes that have been solved. There has been a lot of good things done. We've really worked a good undercover drug program. We're still working that. We're working on a lot of things right now. As a detective, you are really not supervising the men. If he needs someone on the scene, he is in charge of that scene. As far as being a supervisor in other capacities, whether it be on a wreck or whatever, then he (Matt) has that authority (as lieutenant) to tell those officers what we need to be doing if I'm not here. The promotion will take effect July 1 with the new budget. I want to use Matt now for about the next month and a half until July 1 to help me in this capacity, to be learning and doing things. He has put a lot of effort into this (career) and he has a lot of specialized training," said Chief Caplinger

"I'm very proud of Matt Holmes," said Alderman and Police Commissioner Shawn Jacobs. "He came to work for us before I was even on the council. You could tell there was something special about Matt even then. As he was eventually promoted to detective and now receiving another department promotion tonight to lead detective, we have something to be very proud of in Matt and also detective (Brandon) Donnell. I think we have two of the best. I don't think a town this size could want anything any better than these two men and I'm just very proud of the job they do and the rapport they have with the people as well. They are just fine young men and I hope they become fine old men in the service of the Smithville Police Department," said Alderman Jacobs.

After graduating from DeKalb County High School, Detective Holmes furthered his education at the Tennessee Technology Center. He graduated from Walter State Community College and began his career with the Smithville Police Department in 2007. Holmes was later promoted to the rank of Detective.

He is a graduate of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation School and is certified by the 13th Judicial District Drug Task Force in drug diversion and the Tennessee Meth Task Force. Holmes is certified in Child Passenger Safety, the United States Department of Justice Amber Alert training and technical assistance program and Pharmaceutical Overdose Death Investigations. During Detective Holmes' six years of employment, he has been awarded three departmental commendations for criminal investigations and narcotics arrests.

In other business, the aldermen named Dwain Snow to fill the unexpired term of Clay Farler on the city planning commission. Farler recently resigned the position.

The mayor and aldermen will also meet in an informal workshop on Tuesday, May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at city hall to make preparations for the 2013-14 city budget. Janice Plemmons, the city's financial advisor will also meet with the board during the workshop. "We will have the departmental heads come in and they will give us their wish list and go over the major projects for the upcoming year," said Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson.

Sheriff's Department Makes Arrest in Break-In at Maggie's Landing

May 6, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Christopher Trent Barnes
Travis Marcus Melton
William Corey Dickens

The Sheriff's Department has charged one man with breaking into Maggie's Landing on Highway 70.

30 year old Christopher Trent Barnes of Smithville is charged with burglary and theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on June 6.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that on Monday, March 11 Barnes allegedly entered the front door of Maggies Landing on Highway 70 while the business was closed. He allegedly took two 12 gauge shotguns, a nine millimeter handgun, a 22 caliber rifle, rolled and loose change, and other various items all valued at over $1,000. The case was investigated by criminal detectives of the sheriff's department.

In a separate case, another man has been charged with breaking into two homes last year on Johnson Chapel Road.
20 year old Travis Marcus Melton of Johnson Chapel Road, Sparta is charged with two counts of aggravated burglary and two counts of theft of property over $1,000. His bond is $80,000 and he will be in court on May 16.

Sheriff Ray said that on February 29, 2012 Melton allegedly broke into a residence on Johnson Chapel Road by kicking in a back door. He allegedly took a 20 gauge shotgun, two flat screen TV's, a DVD player, a chain saw and other various items all valued at over $1,000.

Meanwhile on the same day, February 29 Melton also allegedly broke into another home on Johnson Chapel Road through a window. Melton allegedly took a 46 inch flat screen TV, DVD player, laptop computers, a digital camera, and other various items all valued at more than $1,000.

The case was investigated by criminal detectives of the sheriff's department.

28 year old William Corey Dickens of Forrest Avenue, Smithville is charged with theft of property under $500. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on May 22.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday, April 9, Dickens allegedly unlocked a Seven Up and Coke vending machine and took $160 at Prichard's Foods on Highway 53. He allegedly unlocked the vending machines with a seven pin tubular lock pick ordered off the Internet.

31 year old Christopher J. Nash of Sparta Highway, Smithville is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court May 16. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, April 29 Nash allegedly assaulted his girlfriend at the Lake Motel on Sparta Highway by hitting her in the face and head several times with his fist leaving a knot on her forehead.

41 year old Richard Brandon Turner of Andrew Street, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on June 6.

Sheriff Ray said that on or about Thursday, May 2, a criminal detective of the sheriff's department saw Turner walking in the middle of the street on South Bright Hill Road. Turner was unsteady on his feet, stumbling in and out of traffic. Turner had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and bloodshot eyes.

21 year old James Raymond Graham is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court on May 9.

Sheriff Ray said that on Saturday, May 4 Graham allegedly assaulted his wife by pushing her into a door. Several times, Graham allegedly refused to let her leave the residence on Young Ridge Road. The woman had a bruise on her leg from the scuffle. Graham was arrested and brought to the jail for booking.

Habitat for Humanity Dedicates New Home

May 6, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Melba Vinca Receives Keys to her New Home from Nolan Turner (WJLE Photo)
Habitat members join Melba Vinca family for dedication ceremony
Melba Vinca and Grandchildren with Nolan Turner of Habitat for Humanity

A dedication ceremony was held Sunday afternoon by members of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County to commemorate the recent completion of the fourth partner family home on Hayes Street in Smithville.

Melba Vinca and her grandchildren, Bradley Mullican and Cayton and Justin Lance are expected to move into the home soon. Vinca said the family loves their new home and are thankful to everyone who helped them.

The dedication ceremony included a greeting, prayers, scripture reading, and consecration of the home all led by Dr. John Carpenter of the Smithville First United and Bright Hill United Methodist Churches.

Local Habitat member Sharon Evans presented Vinca a Bible and Habitat President Nolan Turner gave her the keys to the home.

The program ended with the group reciting in unison the Lord's Prayer.

"This house has 1,050 square feet of living area inside," said Turner. "Its got three bedrooms, a bathroom, living room, and kitchen combination. It has a half bath and closet space. Each house we build is based on the number in the family. Every family we have served has had two or three children. So all of our houses have basically been the same square footage," said Turner.

Officers of Habitat for Humanity of DeKalb County are: President, Nolan Turner; Vice President, Chad Driver; Secretary, Gayla Hendrix; and Treasurer, Brenda Hooper.

Habitat Board Members are: Michael Barry, Chad Driver, Joy Parker, John Carpenter, Pam Restrepo, Arthur Primrose, Larry Steffee, Mary Nell Summers, Cindy Webb, Lisa Garrison, Larry Green, Rob Willingham, and Hearon Puckett.

Former Board members who continue to serve as committee chairs are: Sharon Evans, Tecia Puckett Pryor, Tom Janney, Glenda Davis, Gary Johnson, John Quintero, Kay Quintero, Kim Wheeler, Laura Stone, Nancy Lewis, and Marie.
Blair.

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