Local News Articles

G.E.D. Classes to Begin August 23rd

August 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
Betty Hickey

Interested in obtaining a G.E.D.?

A G.E.D. program is offered free in DeKalb County to anyone age eighteen or older. The classes meet at Smithville Elementary School and are taught by Betty Hickey and volunteer Tom Werling. Classes begin Monday, August 23rd.

Hickey says the G.E.D. classes meet on Monday and Wednesday at Smithville Elementary School starting at 4:00 p.m.

"We have open enrollment. That means we accept people all year long from August when we start until the end of June. We shut down during the month of July. All of our classes are free because we are considered public education but the testing center charges a fee of $55.00 and you have to go to McMinnville or Cookeville to take your test. The Smithville Rotary Club and DeKalb Community Bank helps with this fee.

"When you come, the first thing we do is give a test. That test gives us a grade level in reading, math, and English. From there, we can work with you, one on one, because our classes are usually pretty small. After we get your grade levels, then we can help you one on one with the areas you are low in until you are ready to go take your exam. The areas that you are tested in are science, social studies, reading, math, and English, which includes an essay. One good thing about the test is that you can go take your exam and you don't have to pass all subjects at once. You can pass what you can, come back to us, and we'll help you through the areas that you may be having more difficulty in."

For more information call 597-5404.

County Commission Honors Eagle Scout Layne Mathis

August 11, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Mayor Mike Foster Congratulates Eagle Scout Layne Mathis

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted a resolution honoring Eagle Scout Layne Mathis, son of Ricky and Donna Mathis.

County Mayor Mike Foster read the resolution "Whereas, it is fitting that the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor should announce their pride, respect, and honor in the young people of our community who so capably fulfill their requirements and duties to reach lofty goals and levels of achievement.

Whereas, Layne Mathis has performed the years of tasks to work his way to the highest honor bestowed by the Boy Scouts of America. Layne Mathis has worked to a level achieved by a very select few and has earned the Eagle Award.

Whereas, the DeKalb County Commission and the DeKalb County Mayor wish to thank Layne Mathis, his family, other scouts who helped and his leaders for the honors they have brought to themselves and DeKalb County.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the DeKalb County Commission that August 10th, 2010 be officially named Eagle Scout Layne Mathis Day. Be it further resolved that this accomplishment be spread across the records of this meeting and preserved as a lasting part of our appreciation to Eagle Scout Layne Mathis."

Foster added "He worked at the T-ball field to build a play set and put a fence around it for the younger kids who were not playing T-ball to have a safe place to play. He took donations for his project at the T-ball field and hired himself out to work in concession stands for parents who donated to the play set. He supervised the project and helped with the installation. His favorite Merit Badge was law. He took it seven times at Tennessee Tech and MTSU during Merit Badge Universities. His favorite activities were camping and canoeing. He was a cub scout before he was a boy scout. Layne also enjoys playing football for the DeKalb County Tigers."

In other business, the county commission voted to post speed limits on three county roads in the fourth district based on a recommendation by the Tennessee Highway Patrol.

County Mayor Foster says residents in those areas asked that speed limits be established. "I've got three roads that have been recommended to be approved for speed limits, based on THP input. These are recommended from the planning commission to discuss speed limits on Ford Road, Lakeview Heights, and Mountain View Road. Ford Road is off of the road that goes to Austin Bottom. Lakeview Heights is near Cookeville Boat Dock, and Mountain View is off of Lakeview Mountain Estates.

The way this worked, we had a letter from the people who live on those roads recommending that this be done. It's not just one person who makes the recommendation, it has to be everybody on the road. They make the recommendations to the planning commission and then the planning commission makes a recommendation to the county commission, and then the highway patrol checks the roads and recommends a safe speed."

The county commission also reappointed Wayne Cantrell and Elmer Ellis, Jr. to the 911 board. Their terms will expire August 3rd, 2014.

Site summaries are not yet complete by J & S Construction on the Town and Country Shopping Center complex, but the county commission Monday night authorized advertising the invitation to bid the renovations of the complex, once those summaries are finished. County Mayor Foster says since the county commission doesn't meet again in regular session until September 27th, he and members of the commission felt it best to take this action now so that the project can be expedited before the cold weather months arrive. The project will be bid in two sections, one for the administrative and the other for the recreation portion of the facility.

County Commission Adopts Budgets totaling more than $36 Million

August 10, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Commissioners Larry Summers and Wayne Cantrell
County Commissioners Marshall Ferrell, Bobby Joines, Jack Barton
County Commissioners Jerry Scott, Mason Carter, Elmer Ellis, Jr.
County Commissioner Jeff Barnes

The DeKalb County Commission Monday night adopted budgets for all county departments for the 2010-11 fiscal year and set the property tax rate at $1.46 per $100 of assessed value, the same as last year.

The vote was 9-0. Members voting in favor were Elmer Ellis, Jr., Mason Carter, Bobby Joines, Jack Barton, Jerry Scott, Wayne Cantrell, Jeff Barnes, Marshall Ferrell, and Larry Summers. Members absent were Randy Caplinger, Chris Smithson, Jeff Barrett, John Green, and Willie Thomas.

Total appropriations come to $36-million 181-thousand 801 dollars.

The new budget includes a $400 pay raise for full time county general employees and a twenty five cent per hour increase for part time workers. Members of the county commission will get a $900 per year increase in pay. Each commissioner currently receives $900 per year for attending regular meetings. That will go to $1,800. In addition to the pay hike for regular meetings, the commissioners who meet in committee will receive a $35 increase in pay per meeting.

County Mayor Mike Foster says the budget includes increases in contributions toward benefits including employee and dependent insurance, retirement contributions, workers comp, etc.

Funds are included in the budget for the sheriff's department to make the transition from part time to full time for four deputies who serve as court officers. Under state law, the department is required to have only full time POST certified courtroom officers.

The budget includes money to fund an animal control officer, at least on a part time basis, to pick up stray dogs and cats.

The county will continue to fund "flaggers" at Hurricane bridge on weekdays to control traffic and weight loads across the bridge until the state begins construction work there. The county is expected to receive state grant funds to recoup at least part of the costs of the "flaggers".

The county will not be offering discounts this fall for property owners who pay their taxes in October or November but local property tax relief of up to $50 will be available for those who qualify for the state property tax relief program.

The county is seeking a grant to fund the purchase of a tanker truck and turnout gear for the volunteer fire department. Ten thousand dollars has been budgeted for local matching funds if the grant is approved.

Capital projects fund expenses include:

Ambulance- $75,000 (retro fit an ambulance with new chassis)

Furniture and fixtures (shopping center building)- $100,000 to buy equipment, computers, tables, chairs, appliances,etc.
The county has already been awarded a grant to buy seven or eight new computers for the building; a $15,000 grant for the new senior citizens center to help furnish the kitchen with tables, etc; and a $15,000 grant to finish up the new archives, adding shelves, etc. at the shopping center complex.

Patrol cars or any vehicle needed and grant match for fire department tanker truck- $77,500

Other equipment- $40,000 (fund set aside to help replace fire truck in the future-money to be added to the fund each year)

Building construction- $3,000,000 (Foster says this amount is the balance of the money left from the $5,000,000 the county borrowed to purchase the shopping center complex and to refinance existing debt.) "This ($3,000,000) is what's left after the county paid off the $750,000 for the shopping center building that we bought, paid the county back. We paid off all the notes that the county had including school notes and re-did them at a 3.08% rate, and paid off fire trucks that we bought because the state had condemned two of ours. That's what's left ($3,000,000) in that fund to do work on that building (shopping center) but it may not necessarily all be spent."

Building construction for the Farmer's Market- $50,000 to help match the $80,000 grant to develop the new farmers market.

Solid Waste equipment- $135,000 to purchase a roll back truck and a used front end loader

Other construction- $30,000 for an extra retention pond at the landfill

The local property tax rate will remain the same, without an increase, at $1.46 per $100 of assessed value. The tax rate breaks down as follows:

County General 75 cents, up by 8 cents from last year and up by 20 cents from two years ago
Highway/Public Works- 3 cents
General Capital Projects- 8 cents, up by 1 cent from last year
Debt Service-12 cents, down by 8 cents from last year
General Purpose Schools- 48 cents, down by 1 cent from last year

One cent of the tax rate generates $43,920 in local money with a 5.75% delinquency rate figured into the equation. Here's how much each fund is expected to collect from local property tax dollars:

Net Estimated Collections:
County General- $3,324,007
General Purpose Schools- $2,127,365
Debt Service- $531,841
Highways/Public Works- $132,960
General Capital Projects- $354,561
Total Tax Levy- $6,470,735

Total Estimated Revenues:
County General- $6,069,149
Highways- $1,931-102
Debt Service-$556,407
General Purpose Schools-$17,269,428
Central Cafeteria- $1,346,000
General Capital Projects-$420,938
Local Purpose Fund-$2,150,000
Drug Control- $36,910
Courthouse/Jail Maintenance-$70,405
Solid Waste-$1,375,116
Total: $31,225,454

Total appropriations for each fund are as follows:
County General- $6,328,134
Highways- $2,109,381
Debt Service- $1,138,412
General Purpose Schools- $18,029,136
Central Cafeteria- $1,408,500
General Capital Projects- $3,511,566
Local Purpose Fund- $2,144,184
Drug Control- $36,003
Courthouse/Jail Maintenance- $64,755
Solid Waste- $1,400,231
Total- $36,181,801

The beginning Fund Balance for all funds combined (available money) to start the fiscal year July 1st, 2010 was $11,895,282. The ending fund balance by June 30th, 2011 is estimated to be $7,531,880.

The ambulance service budget estimates expenditures to be $1,138,558 for the year and projected revenues for the operation are projected to be $948,424 including $925,000 in patient charges, a difference of $190,134. Foster says that while revenues have been exceeding expectations the EMS operation is still not operating at a break even point. However, he points out that a few years ago when the county contracted with others to operate the ambulance service, it was paying out $160,000 and buying ambulances each year.

The budget for schools comes to over $18 million including local, state, and federal funds. The property tax rate for schools will be trimmed by one cent from 49 cents to 48 cents per $100 of assessed value. Foster says the one cent reduction will not adversely affect the school system. The school board, in it's budget request, asked for $33,000 in extra local funds over last year. Foster says since one cent of the tax rate generates more money than last year due to growth, the school system will actually be receiving more than ten thousand dollars over and above it's request.

In addition to the $2-million 127-thousand 365 for schools generated by the 48 cent tax rate, the county commission is transferring $1-million 540 thousand from local purpose tax fund (sinking/sales tax fund) to help operate schools this year along with $580,534 to fund the school debt service for payment on the Northside Elementary School and roof at Smithville Elementary School. The state BEP allocation for schools is $12-million 508-thousand dollars.

The school budget includes a $400 increase per certified position and a 25 cent per hour increase for all support staff positions along with the step increases per salary scales and adjustments for degree advancement per salary scales.

The budget also includes one new special education resource teacher for DeKalb County High School to help meet the new diploma requirements. One of the current school nurse positions and two special education assistants, under this budget, will be funded from general purpose schools, rather than federal as they have been in the past. One part-time special education vision teacher position will become full time under this budget.

Three cents of the property tax rate, $132,960, helps support the county highway department along with a mineral severance tax, $25,000, Other than that, Foster says all of the county road department's budget is funded by state allocations, mostly state gas tax revenues.

The landfill budget has increased this year, primarily due to increases allocated for costs associated with post closure of former landfill sites. The increase in that category alone is going from $60,000 to $200,000. Depreciation expense is increasing from $25,000 to $120,000. Foster says another manned convenience site is being developed at the landfill and funds have been included to cover more man hours at some of the other convenience site locations.

The solid waste fund does not receive any property tax money. A total of $601,715 in local funds to support solid waste are derived from payment-in-lieu of taxes, local option sale taxes, hotel-motel tax, bank excise tax and wholesale beer tax. Sixty five thousand dollars is budgeted as projected revenues from tipping fees.

The commission also adopted a resolution making appropriations of $123,735 to the following non-profit organizations:

DeKalb Sparks Softball- $150
Upper Cumberland Development District- $3,411
Tennessee Division of Forestry-$1,500
DeKalb County Rescue Squad- $11,500
Plateau Mental Health-$7,180
Families First-$750
Senior Citizens Program-$23,962
DeKalb Soil Conservation District-$28,097
DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce-$20,000
Genesis House- $1,500
Prospect Incorporated-$12,500
Upper Cumberland Human Resources-$1,200
Double Creek/Other Child Welfare Services- $3,000
UCHRA Assessment-Homemaker Aide, etc-$8,985

Dues and memberships:
Upper Cumberland Tourism Association- $300
Tennessee County Services Association- $1,223
Tennessee County Officials Association- $1,985
Tennessee County Sheriff's Association- $1,200
Tennessee County Commissioners Association- $1,350
Upper Cumberland Development District- $2,508
Association of Tennessee Valley Governments- $400
Total dues and memberships- $8,966

Two Men Arrested After Deputy Finds Meth Lab Components during Traffic Stop

August 9, 2010
Dwayne Page
Robert Douglas Tedrow
Mark William Green
Virginia Kay Jones

Two men were arrested on drug charges by the Sheriff's Department Friday, August 6th after being stopped for a traffic violation on Highway 70.

34 year old Robert Douglas Tedrow of Hiwassee Road, Lebanon and 30 year old Mark William Green of Stoutown Road, Blaine Tennessee are each charged with manufacture of a schedule II drug (methamphetamine), simple possession of a schedule II drug (cocaine), and possession of drug paraphernalia. Bond for each is $28,500 and they will be in court on August 19th. Tedrow was also issued a citation for violation of the seat belt law.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says after stopping Tedrow's vehicle for the traffic offense, the deputy walked up to the vehicle and noticed a two liter bottle on the back floor board. The bottle contained a milky substance. Suspecting that the men had components of a shake and bake meth lab in the vehicle, the officer asked for and received consent to search. In the vehicle, the deputy found a blue bag with a spoon wrapped in plastic that contained a white powdery substance believed to be cocaine. Five used needles were also found along with other components used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.

Meanwhile in another case, 25 year old Scotty Randall Hendrixson of McMinnville was charged on Friday August 6th with driving on a suspended license. He was also issued a citation for violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance) and violation of the vehicle registration law for having the wrong tags on his vehicle.. Sheriff Ray says a deputy responded to an accident with property damage on New Home Road in Dowelltown. A computer check of his drivers license revealed they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in Warren County earlier this year. He also had Cannon County charges against him from cases in 2008. His bond totals $2,000 and his court date is August 25th.

48 year old Virginia Kay Jones of Holloway Road, Smithville was named in a grand jury sealed indictment last week for TennCare Fraud. She was arrested on Thursday, August 5th. Her bond is $2,500 and she will appear for arraignment in criminal court on August 16th.

Man Overturns Pickup Truck-Airlifted to Erlanger Hospital

August 7, 2010
Dwayne Page

A 21 year old McMinnville man was airlifted to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga Saturday evening after he lost control of his truck and overturned on Highway 56 south near Webb's Chapel Church.

Central Dispatch received the call at 5:31 p.m.

Trooper Allen England of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says Joan Lopez was driving north in a 1992 Nissan pickup truck when he lost control after passing other vehicles.'"The subject passed some vehicles prior to the crash scene and when he came back into his lane of travel, he went too far and exited the roadway into a ditch line. He traveled approximately 200 feet in the ditch line, hit a driveway culvert, and the truck rolled across the church parking lot until it came to final rest on it's side in the roadway just passed the Webb's Chapel Church."

Trooper England says Lopez, who had an odor of alcohol about his person, was ejected from the truck.

A Life Force helicopter ambulance landed near the scene on Ferrell Road to pick up Lopez and fly him to Erlanger Hospital in Chattanooga. DeKalb EMS treated him until the helicopter arrived.

Members of the Keltonburg and Short Mountain Highway units of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department set up the helicopter landing zone. Other officers of the THP and DeKalb County Sheriff's Department assisted at the crash site.

The accident remains under investigation.

McDonald Carries Six Counties of District in Democratic State Senatorial Primary

August 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
George McDonald

George McDonald of Smith County carried six of the counties in the Tennessee 17th Senatorial District Thursday to win the Democratic nomination and the right to challenge State Senator Mae Beavers in November. Sam Hatcher won Wilson County and the portion of Sumner in the district.

McDonald received a total of 6,282 votes compared to 5,879 votes for Sam Hatcher, and 2,861 votes for Aubrey Givens.

Here's a break down of the vote county by county:

McDonald- 560
Hatcher- 390

McDonald- 327




Sumner(Hendersonville precinct)


Hatcher- 3,626

Beavers Wins Six Counties to Defeat Opponents in State Senatorial Primary

August 7, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Senator Mae Beavers

State Senator Mae Beavers carried six counties of the Tennessee State Senatorial District in her victory Thursday in the state GOP primary. Susan Lynn carried one county and the portion of Sumner county in the district.

Beavers received a total of 13,499 votes compared to 11,860 votes for Susan Lynn and 2,569 votes for Gordon Borck.

Here's a breakdown of the vote in each county of the district:



Beavers- 923
Borck- 84

Beavers- 1,920
Lynn- 857
Borck- 222

Beavers- 1,613
Lynn- 558
Borck- 265

Sumner (Hendersonville precinct)
Lynn- 528
Beavers- 224

Beavers- 496
Lynn- 261
Borck- 78

Lynn- 8,219
Beavers- 6,534

Smithville Police Find Drugs on Man Arrested for Drunk Driving

August 7, 2010
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police arrested a man Sunday for drunk driving and found drugs.

37 year old Steve Allen Hale of 225 Meadow Brook Drive was arrested on Sunday, August 1st and charged with a third offense of driving under the influence, possession of a schedule III and IV controlled substance for resale, simple possession of a schedule VI and possession of drug paraphernalia. Hale was observed by Officer James Cornelius failing to maintain proper lane of travel. Hale was stopped on the traffic violation and Officer Cornelius noticed that Hale's speech was slurred and that he was unsteady on his feet. Hale submitted to four sobriety tasks and he performed poorly. Officer Cornelius asked Hale to remove all items from his pockets. Removed was approximately 5 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana, 20 blue pills, 8 white pills and a pack of JB rolling papers. Bond for Hale is $15,000 and he will be in court date: August 19th.

43 year old Robert Ernest Rochefort of Doe Lane was arrested on Wednesday, August 4th by Officer David Phillips for domestic assault. According to the warrant, Rochefort assaulted his roommate on Saturday, July 31st by hitting and kicking her. Bond for Rochefort is $2500 and his court date is August 19th.

22 year old Victoria Alexis Peden of Castalian Springs was arrested on Thursday, August 5th by Officer David Phillips for driving on a suspended license. Officer Phillips initiated a traffic stop for speeding and requested a check through Central Dispatch on Ms. Peden's driver's license. It was discovered that her license were suspended. Bond for Peden is $1,000 and her court date is August 26th.

Anyone having any information on the following offenses is asked to please contact the Smithville Police Department at 597-8210 or the Tip Line at 464-6046.

On Thursday, July 29th an unknown white male was caught on Wal-Mart security camera taking an HP computer system and leaving the store without paying for it.

Any information received that will help the Smithville Police solve any criminal offense will be greatly appreciated. All information is confidential.

Final Slate of Candidates Set for DTC Election of Directors

August 6, 2010
Dwayne Page

The final slate of candidates is set for DTC Communications’ election of directors next month.
Directors will be elected in four exchanges, including the Auburntown (464), Gordonsville (683), Temperance Hall (548), and Woodland (765) exchanges.

Incumbents Roy N. Pugh, James H. Dillard, Jr., and David Parker are running unopposed in the Auburntown, Gordonsville, and Woodland exchanges, respectively.

The Temperance Hall exchange is represented by two candidates: Incumbent Robert Don Malone and one candidate who qualified by petition – Todd S. Perry.

Voting for directors will take place at the cooperative’s annual meeting on Saturday, Sept. 18 and during early voting Monday-Wednesday, Sept. 13-15. Thursday, Sept. 9, will be the last day to make changes to your membership for the 2010 election.

Hours and locations for early voting include:

Early Voting Hours
Mon., Sept. 13 – Noon to 7 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 14 – Noon to 7 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 15 – 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Early Voting Locations
Kenneth Sandlin Building, DeKalb County Fairgrounds, Alexandria
Gordonsville Civic Center, 63 Main St. East, Gordonsville
DeKalb County Courthouse, Room 100, 1 Public Square, Smithville
DTC Training Center (former Woodbury phone store), located beside the DTC Customer Service Center, Woodbury

On Saturday, Sept. 18, gates to the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria will open at 11:45 a.m., with voting from noon until 4 p.m. The business meeting will begin at 4 p.m. or once the last person in line at that time has voted.
Only DTC members may vote, and each member must present identification. For a single membership, only that individual may vote. Either member of a joint membership may vote, but not both. In the case of a business membership, a business affidavit is required.

For questions regarding membership and voting guidelines, refer to the by-laws section included in the current DTC phone directory, or call DTC at 615-529-2955.

James Hale Wins Democratic Nomination for State Representative

August 6, 2010
Dwayne Page
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver
James Hale

James Hale of DeKalb County won the Democratic nomination for State Representative of the 40th legislative district Thursday, narrowly defeating Jamie Winkler of Smith County in the state primary 3,286 to 3,229, a difference of 57 votes.

Hale will now take on Republican State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver in the November General Election.

It was no contest in DeKalb County with Hale beating Winkler 1,661 (86%) to 269 (13%). Hale carried all sixteen precincts as well as the early voting and absentees. Hale also defeated Winkler in Macon County 576 to 429. But in Smith County, Winkler won 2,531 to 1,049 for Hale.

(Click here to see results by precinct of Democratic Primary http://www.wjle.com/node/11684)

Representative Weaver, who was re-nominated in the Republican state primary without opposition Thursday, received 1,289 complimentary votes in DeKalb County. In Macon County, Weaver polled 2,780 votes and she received 2,309 votes in Smith County for a total of 6,378.

Meanwhile, Bill Haslam won the Republican nomination for Governor Thursday and he will face Democrat Mike Mcwherter in the November General Election.

(Click here to see results by precinct of the Republican Primary http://www.wjle.com/node/11683)

Haslam also won in DeKalb County with 629 votes. He carried eight precincts including Cherry Hill, Church of Christ Annex, Elementary School, Johnson's Chapel, Liberty, Middle School, Rock Castle, and Snow Hill. Haslam also carried the early voting/absentees.

Ron Ramsey came in second in DeKalb County with 470 votes. Ramsey carried Alexandria, Belk, Blue Springs, Courthouse, Dowelltown, Keltonburg, and Temperance Hall.

Zach Wamp had 390 votes in DeKalb County and carried one precinct, Edgar Evins State Park.

Joe Kirkpatrick had sixteen votes and Basil Marceaux, Sr. received fifteen votes

McWherter was unopposed for the Democratic nomination for Governor and he received 1,482 complimentary votes in DeKalb County.

Congressman Bart Gordon's successor will be either Republican Diane Black or Democrat Brett Carter.

Black and Carter won their respective primary races Thursday.

In DeKalb County, Republican voters preferred Lou Ann Zelenik, who received 490 votes followed by Diane Black with 382, Jim Tracy 352, and Dave Evans with 123. Kerry Roberts received 51 votes, Bruce McClellan 21, and Gary DeWitt Mann had 10 votes.

Meanwhile, DeKalb County Democrats gave Henry Clay Barry the nod with 446 votes followed by Brett Carter with 380 votes, and Ben Leming with 358 votes. Devora Butler had 68 votes and George Erdel 28.


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