Local News Articles

Smithville Police to Crack Down on Unauthorized Parking

June 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Police Chief Richard Jennings

The Smithville Police Department plans to crack down on unauthorized parking in handicapped spaces and in fire lanes on private or city property.

Chief Richard Jennings, in a news release Monday, says that "the police department is enforcing state law which states that stopping, standing, or parking is prohibited in specific places. A vehicle parked in a handicapped parking place that does not display a certificate, placard, or a disabled veteran's license plate will be cited. This also includes parking in the fire lane on private or city property."

Chief Jennings says the Smithville Police Department would like to remind citizens that this is an enforceable violation and to take care when parking.

Sheriff Releases Weekly Update on Arrests

June 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sheriff Patrick Ray

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department has arrested several people since last Tuesday on various charges including DUI, driving on revoked, suspended, or no license, and public intoxication,

Sheriff Patrick Ray, in his weekly update, says deputies arrested 25 year old Lorenzo Aguilar Hernandez of Mitchell Avenue, Cookeville on Tuesday, May 26th after he was involved in a one car accident on Vaughn Lane, Smithville. Authorities learned that Hernandez's license was revoked for a driving under the influence charge on February 28th, 2008 in Wilson County and November 28th, 2008 in Putnam County. Hernandez was charged with a third offense of driving on a revoked license and his bond was set at $3,000. He will appear in court on June 11th.

County officers responded to an accident at the intersection of Webb Lane and Students Home Road on Thursday, May 28th and arrested 47 year old James Allen Hargrove of Old Bildad Road, Smithville. Deputies detected an odor of alcohol on Hargrove's person. Hargrove submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. He did admit to drinking a 12 pack of beer. Hargrove was charged with a first offense of driving under the influence, driving on a suspended driver's license, and violation of the implied consent law. His bond was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on June 11th.

On Friday, May 29th, deputies responded to a domestic call at a business in the Ragland Bottom area of the county. 48 year old Rickey Dewayne Hice of Salem Road ,McMinnville was arrested for public intoxication. Hice was very loud and arguing with his wife in the business and he had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Hice's bond set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on June 11th.

Also on Friday, deputies arrested 45 year old Donald E. Maxey of Earhart Road, Hermitage for driving on a suspended license. Maxey was stopped on Highway 70 East for a traffic violation and upon running Maxey's driver's license; officers learned Maxey's license was suspended for failure to file security after an accident. Maxey's bond was set at $3,000 and he will appear in court on June 24th.

County officers responded to an accident on Dale Ridge Road Friday and found 25 year old Joseph Lee Merriman of Dale Ridge Road to be the driver of the vehicle. Deputies noticed Merriman to be unsteady on his feet and he had slurred speech. Merriman submitted to field sobriety tasks which he failed. Merriman admitted to taking a pill but he could not tell the officer what the pill was. Merriman was charged with driving under the influence His bond was set at $1,500. He will appear in court on June 18th.

Deputies stopped a vehicle on 70 West for a traffic violation on Saturday, May 30th. The driver, 20 year old Paulino Roberto Depaz of Oberlin Circle, Maryland, did not have a license. Depaz was charged with no driver's license and his bond was set at $1,000. He will appear in court on June 25th.

Also on Saturday, deputies arrested 47 year old Joe R. Hall of Mack Floyd Road, Sparta for driving under the influence. Hall was involved in an accident at the intersection of Dale Ridge Road and Chapman Hollow Road. Officers noticed that Hall was unsteady on his feet and had a strong odor of alcohol on his person. Deputies performed field sobriety tasks on Hall which he failed. Bond for Hall was set at $1,500 and he will appear in court on June 25th.

Semi Truck Crashes into Dairy Queen Building

June 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Semi Crashes through Dairy Queen
Semi Crashes through Dairy Queen9032

A tractor trailer rig, driven by 42 year old William Gossett of Gordonsville, crashed through the dining area of the Dairy Queen building on West Broad Street around 7:04 a.m. this morning (Monday)

Gossett, who was driving for Classic Carrier Express of Monteagle, was not injured. The restaurant was also closed at the time of the accident and no one was there.

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, who is investigating, said Gossett was traveling east on Highway 70 when "the tractor trailer exited the roadway to the right, struck a sign in front of Larry's Discount Grocery. The sign was then thrown through and busted the front door of the store (Larry's)."

"The tractor trailer continued eastbound traveling through the parking lot of Susie's Restaurant. It also took down their sign." (Susie's Restaurant was also closed at the time).

"The truck then entered the westbound side of Dairy Queen, went completely through the building, and exited through the other side, where it came to a final rest, with most of the vehicle still inside the building."

Trooper Jennings says Gossett was enroute to Monteagle at the time of the crash and there was no load on board. "It's unknown at this time why the driver exited the roadway. He states that the the only thing he remembers is leaving DeKalb Market after getting something to eat. We don't know if he had a medical problem or what at this time. That's still under investigation."

Others on the scene were Trooper Allen England of the THP and members of the Smithville Police and Fire Departments.

Larry Hancock, owner and operator of Larry's Discount Grocery, says he was outside loading dog food into a customer's vehicle when he heard a noise. Hancock said the semi then brushed against a utility pole as it went by and then proceeded straight through the parking lot in front of Susie's Restaurant and into the Dairy Queen."

Hancock says other than the sign and the front door glass, his building received no other damage but the electricity was off for a while this morning while the electric company replaced a transformer on the utility pole hit by the truck.

John and Amy Bourne, owners and operators of the Dairy Queen, say while they are still in shock with what happened to the restaurant, they are very happy that the truck driver, nor anyone else was injured in the accident. "It was in God's hands for sure with him not being hurt after seeing what the truck looks like and with it going clear through the building," said Amy Bourne.

Ms. Bourne says the Dairy Queen usually opens for business at 8:30 a.m. so no one was in the building at the time of the crash, but if the mishap had occurred an hour later, there probably would have been someone there. "The first thing I thought about was the person driving the truck. After I found out that he was okay then everything else started racing through my mind about the building and how that the Dairy Queen has been a landmark for Smithville. It was heart breaking."

It's unknown right now if the restaurant can be repaired or will have to be rebuilt, but Ms Bourne says the business will be re-opened. "We have structural damage all the way to the back of the building. We have roof damage from the front to the back. Equipment, cake cases, we don't have any idea as to the dollar amount of the damage. If you think it looks bad outside, you ought to see what the inside looks like. It is really, really, bad."

"We ask the public to be very patient. It's going to take a while to get everything up and going again. We don't know if this building will have to be completely torn down or if it can be repaired. It's so early, we don't know anything right now."

Smithville Car Lot Building Heavily Damaged by Fire

June 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Fire Damages Chads Auto Sales
Fire Damages Chads Auto Sales

A fire this morning (Monday) caused extensive damage to Chad's Auto Sales at 415 Dry Creek Road.

A passerby spotted the fire and reported it at 3:58 a.m.

Members of the Smithville Volunteer Fire Department quickly responded but Chief Charlie Parker says the blaze was well underway by the time it was reported and firefighters found the structure fully involved upon their arrival..

Chief Parker says two or three vehicles in the car lot received some heat damage but were not destroyed.

The cause of the fire is undetermined. No one was there at the time of the blaze and no one was injured.

The Smithville Police Department and DeKalb EMS were also on the scene.

A total of 491 Vote Early in City Election through Wednesday

May 31, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

A total of 491 people have voted in the Smithville election through Wednesday, June 10th

The daily voting totals are as follows:
Wednesday, May 27th- 51
Thursday, May 28th-48
Friday, May 29th-50
Saturday, May 30th-38
Monday, June 1st-25
Tuesday, June 2nd-38
Wednesday, June 3rd- 18
Thursday, June 4th-54
Friday, June 5th-29
Saturday, June 6th-21
Monday, June 8th-35
Tuesday, June 9th-37
Wednesday, June 10th-35

Twelve absentee ballots were cast prior to May 27th.

Early voting continues through Thursday, June 11th in the basement courtroom of the courthouse

Voting hours are 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Three aldermen will be elected on Tuesday, June 16th

A look at the Tennessee Legislature

May 31, 2009
by: 
Terri Lynn Weaver
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

Greetings Folks of the Fortieth…
Count your many blessings even if you can not get your yard mowed!

Here is what is happening on the Hill
As we enter the homestretch of the first legislative session of the 106th General Assembly, House lawmakers began a thorough review of the budget this week. In a presentation to the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Department of Finance and Administration Commissioner Dave Goetz emphasized the increasingly dismal revenue numbers as a reason for the deep cuts presented in the new budget proposal.

Revenue continues to drop
Although the state’s revenue has been declining since the beginning of 2008, revenues for the last few months have been particularly low. The decline in sales tax revenue had been a fairly steady 6 percent until it accelerated last month and dropped to an approximate 10 percent decline. Making matters worse are declining revenues on big ticket items such as homes and cars.

Commissioner Goetz outlined that the technical corrections bill, which legislators have yet to see, should produce roughly $63 million through closing tax “loopholes” and increasing a myriad of fees on various services and industries.

While the Administration is arguing that these increases will offset other cuts, House members are concerned that some of the provisions are far-reaching, and some even place an increased burden on small businesses, which are already facing difficulties with the struggling economy.

Reserves in good shape, stimulus money will plug holes
The state’s various reserves accounts are in good shape, with the state’s Rainy Day Fund standing at $750 million. The federal match for TennCare has also increased, freeing up more state dollars to be directed elsewhere. The Administration is proposing to use the stimulus funds to plug holes, but
concerns have been raised about that tactic. The stimulus is essentially one
time money, but the Administration has proposed using some of it to fund recurring items in the budget—something House members have cautioned against doing since February.

The budget is typically among the last bills passed by the legislature before adjournment. The General Assembly will carefully review language in the amendment in the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee next week and make any needed changes before the bill goes to the full body for final consideration.

Judicial selection process reformed, legislation passes Senate, House on Thursday
The House approved legislation Thursday, after a lengthy debate, that reforms the selection process for the state’s appellate and Tennessee Supreme Court judges. Legislators have debated the issue for nearly 16 weeks in the committee system, hearing testimony from dozens of attorneys, former judges, current judges, and scholars. The Judicial Selection Commission, a component of Tennessee’s current plan for appointing judges, is set to expire next month.

The bill, Senate Bill 1753, sets up a new nominating commission with fewer attorney members and less special interest input. Lawmakers indicated they would still pursue a separate measure that would call for a Constitutional Convention to let the people decide whether or not they want to elect the judges or opt to continue a system of nomination by a commission, followed by a retention vote from voters.

Tennessee’s Constitution says judges must be “elected by the qualified voters of the state.” The lengthy debate in the legislature has focused on whether or not the selection process with a retention vote meets that test, with detractors saying that it blatantly violates the constitution.

The legislation provides for a 17-member Judicial Nominating Commission that would have at least 10 attorney members. After being appointed through this process, the judges would stand for approval by the voters who could decide whether or not to "retain" or "replace" them, a move that proponents say is more clean than the current ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on the ballot regarding the retention of judges.

If voters decide to replace a judge, an interim judge would be appointed by the governor until the next election. At that point, the people could decide who would fill the slot through a popular election, which is the same process by which the state’s trial judges are currently selected.

I took my oath of office as a member of the 106th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee to faithfully support the Constitution of this state and the United States Constitution. I passionately believe in our sacred document. Therefore when stated in Article IV Section 3 ‘The judges of the Supreme Court shall be elected by the qualified voters of the state” my friends you can not get any clearer then that.

In closing…
It is an honor to serve you and I look forward to seeing more of you when session concludes. Blessings!

On The Beaten Path Art Fair Set For Saturday

May 31, 2009

Fans of fine art and craft should head to Smithville Saturday June 6 for the second annual On The Beaten Path Summer Event. It runs from 10 until 5 in the yard of Stella Luna Art Gallery, 412 College Street, a short walk or ride from downtown Smithville in DeKalb County

In event of rain, it will be held Sunday, June 7, from noon until 7 p.m.

“We’ve put together an intimate art fair for anyone who appreciates fine art and craft,” says Louis Colombarini, Stella Luna co-owner and a founding member of event sponsors Off The Beaten Path. “There will be kid’s activities, live music, food, and several craft demonstrations. It’s a great opportunity to see the work of regional artists.”

Columbarini expects more than 15 exhibitors, including six artists featured on the Off The Beaten Path Fall Tour in October. Saturday’s line-up includes displays of jewelry, pine needle craft, painting, folk art, woodwork, clay, blown glass, and steel fire pits, all available for purchase. Several demonstrations are planned, including fabric spinning and blacksmithing.
There will also be a raffle, with $1 donations for a chance to win one of four original works of art.
For more information contact Louis Colombarini at 615.597.4004.

Off The Beaten Path is an affiliation of professional artists, skilled in contemporary and traditional crafts, who live in and draw inspiration from the scenic hill country of rural DeKalb and Cannon Counties in Middle Tennessee. Collectively, they promote the arts and their work through community outreach, educational programs and free events, culminating in the annual fall tour for which the group is named.

During the Off the Beaten Path Studio Tour, held the last full weekend of October, members open their studios to the public for a firsthand look at the materials, mastery and settings empowering their creativity. For more information, visit them online at www.offthebeatenpathtour.com

County Clerk Says Small Businesses Could be Affected by Proposed Change in State Law

May 30, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
County Clerk Mike Clayborn

DeKalb County Clerk Mike Clayborn wants to advise and alert all small business owners of an issue which he says will directly and adversely affect them.

On Tuesday, June 2nd, a State Senate Subcommittee will consider legislation for the Tennessee Department of Revenue to remove business tax administration from county clerks across the state. Clayborn is encouraging all business owners to attend the meeting at Legislative Plaza.

"I strongly oppose the attempt to take away the issuance of business licenses and the collection of business taxes from the county clerks. This has very serious ramifications for all my constituents and business owners across Tennessee. I do not believe the Department of Revenue can offer the same level of helpfulness and one-on-one frontline support that county clerks have provided since 1971,"said Clayborn.

Clayborn says county clerks not only process tax returns received by mail, but they spend countless hours each week assisting local taxpayers personally. Also, many daily telephone inquiries receive prompt response. In many instances, new businesses need their license immediately in order to open a bank account and purchase products to sell. Counties can do this on the spot.

Small business owners may especially have more difficulty in submitting tax returns to the Department of Revenue without one-on-one assistance from local government. Clayborn says it is this level of customer service that he feels is very important.

"The department references ‘regional offices' but I do not think taxpayers will appreciate having to drive three or four counties over to actually receive help from a live person."

"With the state registering these entities and collecting these dollars, there becomes a veil of secrecy, not only over the distribution of the money, but a shadow of uncertainty as to what types of businesses and activities are springing up on our hometown streets."

He says city and local governments stand at risk with a shift from a local to a state function.

County Clerk Clayborn encourages any concerned parties, especially those who own small businesses to show up and voice their opinions. The meeting will be held at Legislative Plaza, Room 12 at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2nd.

Kelly Services has Immediate Job Openings at Federal Mogul

May 29, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Kelly Services has IMMEDIATE INDUSTRIAL JOBS at Federal Mogul in Smithville. If you have recent manufacturing experience, can pass a drug and background screen, this may be the perfect opportunity for you! Call Kelly Services toll free at 1-866-513-5694 or locally 215-8900 or apply in person Monday-Thursdays 9am-11am or 1pm-3pm Remember, IMMEDIATE JOBS AVAILABLE NOW.

DeKalb County THP Officer Named Trooper of Year in Cookeville District

May 29, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Trooper Dewaine Jennings

Trooper Dewaine Jennings of the Tennessee Highway Patrol has been named Trooper of the Year for the Cookeville District.

Jennings, a resident of Smithville, was among eighteen members of the THP who were honored as Troopers of the Year for their individual districts during a special ceremony held Friday at the THP Training Center on Stewarts Ferry Pike in Nashville.

Trooper Jennings is a member of the Strike Team and assists with the Field Training Officer Program, where he leads by example everyday. Trooper Jennings' enforcement activity was also top in every category in his District. His work ethic, professionalism and pride in his everyday duties as Tennessee Highway Patrol State Trooper make Trooper Jennings one of the best and a clear choice for this award.

Meanwhile, the Tennessee Department of Safety's top overall awards went to Trooper Kevin Curtis as Trooper of the Year 2007 and Trooper Andy Forsythe as Trooper of the Year 2008.

Trooper Kevin Curtis is assigned to McNairy County in the Jackson District and was named Trooper of the Year 2007 for the dedication he showed investigating a horrific crash that occurred during an exhibition in Selmer, TN. Trooper Curtis spent more than 300 hours investigating the crash that killed six bystanders and seriously injured 22 others. Trooper Curtis displayed true professionalism and compassion working with each of the families involved, while managing his normal day to day responsibilities.

Trooper Andy Forsythe has been a member of THP since 1998 and is stationed in Weakley County. Last May, Trooper Forsythe came upon a fiery crash where some of the occupants of both vehicles were trapped. Trooper Forsythe physically bent back the top of one of the vehicles to free the driver and helped rescue some of the other seven victims. His heroic actions most assuredly saved at least two of the victims from perishing in the burning vehicles, and for this, Trooper Forsythe has been named Trooper of the Year 2008.

"These Troopers represent the outstanding achievements of the men and women of the Tennessee Highway Patrol," said Safety Commissioner Dave Mitchell. "Often, the public does not see the good work done by the officers of this fine organization."

THP Colonel Mike Walker added, "Many of these dedicated Troopers are being recognized for their hard work and enforcement activity, and others for concern for their fellow man and community involvement. All have exemplified Professionalism, Integrity, and Pride. I am proud of each one of them."

Meanwhile, Trooper Michael Williams, who is assigned to the Cookeville District, was honored for his outstanding work and dedication to the department. Trooper Williams is among the top in his district. In 2007, he made 39 DUI arrests and 33 felony arrests. That year, Trooper Williams also made the arrest of a Brink's Armored Carrier robbery suspect and recovered more than $110,000.00 in stolen money.

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