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Voters to Pick Democratic Nominees Today

March 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Timothy (Fud) Banks
Scott Cantrell
Bryan Keith

DeKalb County voters today (Tuesday) will choose the Democratic nominees for Assessor of Property and Constable and pick their preferences in the Tennessee Presidential Primaries.

The candidates for Assessor are Incumbent Timothy (Fud) Banks and challengers Scott Cantrell and Bryan Keith. The winner in today's primary will face Republican nominee Mason Carter in the August 2 DeKalb County General Election.

Constable nominees will be selected in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh districts. The only contested race is in the sixth district between Richard Bullard and Carl Lee Webb. There are no constable candidates in the first and second districts. Constable nominees will run unopposed in the August General Election.

Polls at all sixteen precincts in the county will be open today from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage beginning at 7:00 p.m. on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE streaming at www.wjle.com. You may also view the precinct results by clicking on the following link http://www.wjle.com/node/11684

Voters are required to produce a government issued photo I.D. before they will be allowed to vote on the voting machine. If no photo identification is provided, the voter will vote a provisional ballot and the voter will have two business days to return to the election commission office and show a valid photo I.D. or the ballot will be rejected.

The voter can sign an oath stating he/she is indigent or an oath stating a religious objection to being photographed. After signing the oath, the voter will vote on the machines.

A valid photo I.D. includes a Tennessee driver's license, U.S. passport, Department of Safety photo I.D. card, state or federal employee photo identification card, a photo I.D. card issued by the federal government or other state and a U.S. military photo I.D.

Remember, as a voter you must declare which primary you intend to vote. For example, if you declare your intention to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary, you cannot vote in either the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary or the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable). Likewise, if you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary and the DeKalb County Democratic Primary (for Assessor of Property and Constable), you cannot vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary

If you choose to vote in the Republican Presidential Preference Primary you may vote for one of the following candidates:

Michele Bachman
Newt Gingrich
Jon Huntsman
Gary Johnson
Ron Paul
Rick Perry
Charles "Buddy" Roemer
Mitt Romney
Rick Santorum
Uncommitted

The Republican ballot also lists the names of Delegates At Large for Presidential candidates Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney (Committed and Uncommitted) as well as Delegates in the 6th Congressional District for Gingrich, Paul, Perry, and Romney (Committed and Uncommitted).

If you choose to vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Primary, the only name listed is Barack Obama and Uncommitted.

The DeKalb County Democratic Primary ballot features the Assessor of Property race. The candidates are listed as follows:

Timothy "Fud" Banks
Scott E. Cantrell
Bryan Keith

Constable candidates are on the ballot in the following districts:

3rd District:
Wayne Vanderpool

4th District:
Paul Cantrell

5th District:
Mark Milam

6th District:
Richard Bullard
Carl Lee Webb

7th District
Johnny King

City to Apply for FEMA Grant Funds to Hire Firefighters

March 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night gave their blessing for the fire department to apply for a FEMA Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) Grant, which if approved, would fund the hiring of firefighters for up to two years at no costs to the city.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker, in asking for approval to make application, told the mayor and aldermen that the city would be under no obligation to keep funding the positions locally after the grant funds are exhausted. "The grant is a two year total grant and it would be for hiring full time personnel. It would go up to a max of $230,000 for salary supplements for that two years. That's the maximum amount. That doesn't mean that we will get the full amount but it could be some in part up to that for personnel. If we do get it, it will still need to be accepted by the board" said Chief Parker.

According to the FEMA website, the priorities for funding under this program are as follows:

First priority: Rehiring laid-off firefighters

Second priority: Retention of firefighters who face imminent layoff and/or filling positions vacated through attrition but not filled due to economic circumstances

Third priority: Hiring new firefighters

Chief Parker said the city should know by September if the grant is funded.

Woman Caught Trying to Smuggle Drugs and Tobacco into the Jail

March 5, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Porsche Lynn Cantrell
Phillip Andrew Martin
Howard Eugene Brown
Melisa Gean Petty
Donnie Ray Gillman

A Smithville woman was caught trying to smuggle drugs and tobacco into the DeKalb County Jail on Sunday.

22 year old Porsche Lynn Cantrell of Peyton Lane, Smithville is charged with introduction of drugs into a penal institution and criminal trespassing. Her bond totals $7,500 and she will be in court March 15.

Sheriff Patrick Ray reports that on Sunday, March 4 Cantrell was observed on jail video surveillance climbing the fence which surrounds the rear of the jail. She had tried to throw a package over the fence into the recreation yard but the package lodged in the top of the fence. Cantrell then climbed the fence in order to retrieve the package. After spotting her on video surveillance, correctional officers ran outside and recovered the package, which contained a half ounce of marijuana, tobacco cigarettes and lighters. Cantrell was placed under arrest.

41 year old Donald Earl Foster of Page Drive, Smithville was issued citations last week for violation of the light law, two counts of simple possession of a schedule II controlled substance (methamphetmine) and (oxycodone) and simple possession of a schedule III controlled substance (hydrocodone). He will be in court on April 12.

Sheriff Ray said that Foster, who was operating a motor vehicle on the Sparta Highway last Monday night, February 27, was stopped by a deputy for having a tail light out. Upon searching his person, the officer found on Foster a small metal container which held five hydrocodone pills, an oxycodone pill, and a plastic bag of a white powdery substance believed to be methamphetamine.

24 year old Phillip Andrew Martin of Foster Road is charged with domestic assault. His bond is $2,500 and he will be in court on March 1. Sheriff Ray said that on Monday, February 27, Martin allegedly entered the residence of a family member on Eagle Creek Road and assaulted the victim, hitting him several times with his fists.

34 year old Howard Eugene Brown of Gentry Avenue, Smithville is charged with burglary, theft of property over $1,000, and filing a false report. His bond totals $11,500 and he will be in court on March 8.

Sheriff Ray reports that on December 5, 2011 Brown allegedly entered a barn on New Home Road, Dowelltown and took a 2003 Honda Rancher 4 wheeler. On Monday February 27 sheriff's department detectives went to Brown's residence on Gentry Avenue to investigate the theft. But Brown, posing as someone else, told the detectives that his name was Michael Roy West. He later admitted that his name is actually Howard Eugene Brown.

45 year old Melisa Gean Petty of Banks Pisgah Road was recently picked up on a sealed indictment charging her with sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (dilaudid) in a drug free zone and two counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug (dilaudid). Her bond is $100,000 and she will be in court on March 19.

43 year old Raymond Earl Tague of Short Mountain Highway, Smithville is charged with public intoxication. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court March 8. Sheriff Ray reports that on Saturday, March 3 an officer was dispatched to Highway 146 to check out a person walking in the roadway. Upon arrival, the deputy found Tague walking on the road. He had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage on his person and he was very unsteady on his feet. For safety reasons, Tague was transported to the sheriff's department and arrested for public intoxication.

25 year old Donnie Ray Gillman of Floyd Drive, Smithville is charged with aggravated assault. His bond is $10,000 and he will be in court on March 15. According to Sheriff Ray, Gillman and another family member became involved in a confrontation at Gillman's home on Sunday, March 4. During the incident, Gillman allegedly fired an SKS rifle in the direction of the victim. Gillman admitted to firing the weapon. No one was injured.

Capitol Hill Week From Senator Mae Beavers

March 4, 2012
State Senator Mae Beavers

Jobs and the economy took center stage on Capitol Hill this week as lawmakers heard good news regarding Tennessee’s economic prospects, including the forecast that employers may see reductions in their unemployment premiums as early as July. Tennessee Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Karla Davis and Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Bill Hagerty appeared before the Senate Commerce Committee to present their budget requests and brief members on developments taking place on Tennessee’s jobs front.

Job creation reaches highest mark since 2007 -- Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty told Senate Commerce Committee members this week that Tennessee had a very productive year with the creation of 28,500 jobs in the state, the highest mark since 2007. The Commissioner attributed the success to a realignment the Department took after Governor Haslam ordered a “top to bottom review” of its operations.

“The result of that has been a fabulous job number in what has overall been a very tough economic environment,” Hagerty said. “The majority of job creation in this state comes from existing businesses as they expand. My challenge to the department has been to make sure that we maintain a 98 percent plus market share of all expansion that happens with Tennessee companies --and it is working.”

Although the focus is on expanding within Tennessee, Hagerty said Governor Haslam and the Department continue to be “very aggressive” in recruiting worldwide, visiting seven different countries in the last half of last year. The department is pursuing a new initiative to open up the market for export opportunities to increase the output from Tennessee companies. In addition, they are working on a co-investment fund to make money available for early stage capital to attract new private equity into the state for Tennessee entrepreneurs.

Unemployment Fund Projected to Trigger Employer Premium Decrease in July -- Likewise, Commissioner of Labor and Workforce Development Karla Davis reported on her department’s activities this week, which included good news regarding Tennessee’s Unemployment Trust Fund. As of February 1, the balance of the fund is over $306 million.

A law passed in 2009 contained triggers for higher premiums when the state’s unemployment fund goes down to insure solvency and keep the state from the federal mandates associated with borrowing or insolvency. The law also contained a 0.6 percent premium in order to keep the fund solvent. Those triggers, however, reverse to lower premiums upon reaching levels which ensure solvency of the fund.

Tennessee employers are currently paying premiums based on Tax Table 1, which assesses the highest level of premiums. The Trust Fund is expected to trigger Tax Table 2 in the immediate future. Thus, the assessment will result in a lower premium to employers in July of this year. The study also forecasts that the Trust Fund will hit the $650 million threshold in the third quarter of 2014. At that time there will be a further decrease in the tax as well as an elimination of the 0.6 percent solvency fee.

Legislation giving teachers more authority to relocate a student for safety reasons receives final approval

The State Senate unanimously approved legislation today giving teachers more authority to relocate a student who poses a safety threat without fear of being found liable. Senate Bill 3116 requires local education boards to adopt a policy authorizing a teacher's ability to temporarily move a student to a different location for the student's safety or the safety of others. The bill also requires principals to fully support the authority of teachers in taking the action when it is done according to the policy.

The genesis of the bill came as lawmakers have listened to teachers who were concerned about liability while performing assigned duties or that a lawsuit could be brought against them if they try to remove a student during an altercation. The legislation is supported by the Tennessee School Board Association, the Tennessee Teacher Association, and the Professional Educators of Tennessee.

The policy required under the measure would also cover teachers’ authorization to intervene in a physical altercation between two or more students or between a student and Local Education Agency (LEA) employee. It also allows for the use of reasonable or justifiable force upon a student if the student is unwilling to cooperate and it becomes necessary to end the altercation by relocating the student to another area.

If steps beyond the use of reasonable or justifiable force are required, the proposal says the student would remain in place until law enforcement officers or school resource officers arrive.

The bill would apply to acts committed on school property, as well as those at official school functions, including sporting events and approved field trips. In addition to teachers, it would apply to administrators, school support staff, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, school resource officers, and others working in the school who interact with students.

Teachers must file a brief report with the principal detailing the situation that required the relocation of the student. If it is found that the student's behavior violated the LEA's zero tolerance policy, the report would become part of the student’s permanent record. The student is then subject to additional disciplinary action that may include suspension or expulsion from the school. The principal or their designee must notify the teacher involved of the actions taken to address the behavior of the relocated student.

The bill does not apply to special needs students.

Issues in Brief

DUI / Child Endangerment -- Legislation sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers (R-Mt. Juliet) was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, which she chairs, to ensures a multiple DUI offender receives the appropriate punishment when he or she endangers a child in their vehicle by driving under the influence. Currently, multiple offenders do not receive an enhanced sentence like first offenders due to ambiguity in the language of a 2005 law which enhanced penalties for child endangerment for DUI offenders. Senate Bill 2607 makes sure state law is clear for multiple DUI offenders that the punishment for child endangerment, which is 30 days, runs consecutively with any other sentence received.

Voter ID – Eighty two percent of Tennesseans consider the new voter identification law “a good idea that should be kept in place,” according to a new Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) poll. About four in five Tennesseans (83 percent) say they have heard that voters will be asked to show a photo ID at the polls starting this year, up significantly from last fall’s 71 percent.

Equal Access to Public Property Act -- The House of Representatives has approved a Senate amendment and sent to the Governor legislation to create order in the use of Tennessee’s public lands received final approval by the full Senate this week. Senate Bill 2508 makes it a misdemeanor offense to engage in the activity of camping on property owned by the state knowing that the area is not designated for that use. The “Equal Access to Public Property Act of 2012,” comes after reports of potential health threats, theft, lewd behavior and other crimes on the Capitol’s War Memorial Plaza in association with the “Occupy Nashville” encampment.

Repairs Made to Storm Damaged School Buildings

March 3, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Middle School
Roof Leaks Coming Through Ceiling in DMS Classroom
Water from Ceiling Puddling on Floor of DMS Classroom
Window Frame Bowed Inward at DCHS Vocational School
DCHS Football Scoreboard Twisted by Storm Winds

As schools were closed Thursday, repairs were being made to campus buildings in order to get them ready for classes on Friday.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby said high winds from Wednesday afternoon's severe weather caused some damage to DeKalb Middle School and the Vocational School at DCHS while snapping an electric line, providing a primary power source to DCHS. "When daylight came (Thursday) we found some more damage. Up on top of the middle school, as you drive by you could see that it had blown off the siding next to the roof, probably 25 to 30 feet in two different spots. On top of the roof of the middle school, metal which evidently came from some other place cut six or seven places in the roof where it had blown metal around. We've had a company up there, Porter Roofing fixing those cuts. They think they have all those particular spots fixed as to damage to the roof, temporarily fixed anyway. There are some blowers inside drying out the building from the leaks. The maintenance department and custodians worked Wednesday night and Thursday drying things out to make sure the water coming into the building didn't get out of control. We had some pretty good leaks in the middle school," said Willoughby.

"It (winds) blew one of the windows in at the vocational school," according to Willoughby. "The force of the wind blew in one of the large windows. It did not break the window. It did not shatter. We were able to put that back in. There is no structural damage. We had some people to look. So that window was secured back in and braced. There was some siding that blew off the vocational building. We had two or three twenty five foot strips of rubber that came off the side of the roof of the vocational school," he said

"The football field scoreboard is twisted. The baseball scoreboard is down. We've got a fence down where a large tree has fallen on it. All in all we were very fortunate that we did not get any more damage than what did happen," said Willoughby

Director Willoughby said except for some concerns about electricity to the building, the high school did not receive any significant storm damage. "There was no structural damage at the high school. We had one little place where it looked like it had blown the siding off the back of the high school but upon examining it further, we don't believe that was from the storm. It was just a little bit loose up there at the top of the building where the roof and the siding met. We had to have the electric company come in Thursday morning. If we had to, we could have had school Thursday with the exception of dealing with the electricity. We were not sure of all the areas of the school where electricity was available everywhere in the school Wednesday night but we got there Thursday morning and had to do some additional work. There were more reasons than just the roof why we did not go to school Thursday," said Willoughby.

Storm winds also blew down a traffic caution light on West Broad Street near the schools.

Schools reopened Friday morning but closed again at noon due to the threat of more severe weather.

Committee Makes Plans for Open-Air Pavilion

March 3, 2012
Committee Makes Plans for Open-Air Pavilion

Tennessee Downtown Programs Steering Committee Members Wade Smith, Suzanne Williams, Steve White, Alan Webb and Mark Ashburn (not pictured) were guests of the Smithville Rotary Club last Tuesday and presented the two plans for an open-air pavilion to be constructed at Evins Park in the near future.

These citizens are our local committee that is planning for improvements to downtown Smithville under the umbrella of the "Tennessee Downtowns Program," a statewide initiative to revitalize downtowns and increase tourism in Tennessee.

The Smithville Rotary Club became the first organization in DeKalb County to pledge $1000 toward completion of the pavilion.

County Beer Board Receives Five Applications for Permits

March 2, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Beer Board met Thursday night and received five applications for new beer permits. Final action on them will come at the next meeting on Thursday, April 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the courthouse.

Filing applications for both on and off premises permits are Viva Gail Johnson of Jewel's Market and Pizza on North Congress Boulevard, Smithville; Back 9, LLC doing business as Riverwatch; and Jesus Villa of the Stop Market, LLC, formerly One Stop Market on Short Mountain Highway.

Those filing applications for off premises permits are Debra W. Sacran of D & D Market on Short Mountain Highway, and Araceli Godinez Soto of Nicole's Market on Short Mountain Highway.

All applicants must meet the new minimum distance requirement as established by the county commission along with any other regulations. As WJLE reported Tuesday, the county commission Monday night voted seven to five to rescind the 2,000 foot rule that the county has had in place since 1939 and adopt 800 feet as the minimum distance required between a store seeking a beer permit, and a church, school, or other place of public gathering measuring in a direct line, the nearest point to the nearest point. From the building to the building.

Members of the DeKalb County Beer Board voting to accept the applications for consideration Thursday night were Harrell Tolbert, Dick Knowles, Jim Stagi, Mack Harney, and Edward Frazier. Frank Thomas voted no and Robert Rowe was absent. Again, final action on these applications is scheduled for April 5 at 7:00 p.m. at the courthouse.

Meanwhile sixth district board member Harrell Tolbert announced his resignation from the board Thursday night. Because of redistricting, Tolbert has been moved from the sixth district to the fifth district and can no longer serve the sixth district as a beer board member. The county will have to appoint a new member to succeed Tolbert.

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Body of Storm Victim Recovered

March 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Tornado Claims Josephine Pavone
Storm Destroys Home of Josephine Pavone

The body of 62 year old Josephine Phyllis Pavone was recovered Thursday afternoon from the rubble of her home on Alpine Lane in the Holiday Haven area, where she died Wednesday after a tornado struck.

The residence, a two story structure located on the side of a hill, collapsed during the storm.

According to reports, survey teams were sent out Thursday from the National Weather Service to assess the damage and confirmed that the storm spawned an EF1 tornado in DeKalb County, taking a path from near DCHS and Allens Ferry Road to the Cookeville Highway area including Pine Grove Road, Holiday Haven, Ponder Road, and Puckett's Point to Back Bone Ridge and Falling Water Road in the Johnson's Chapel Community

The recovery operation at the scene of the fatality began shortly after the storm on Wednesday but was halted later in the evening. It resumed Thursday morning but because of the location, rescue workers had challenges to overcome. "We had challenges," said County Fire Chief Donny Green. " We started work this morning in the operations phase of the recovery and worked all day trying to gain access to the victim and get the body of the deceased removed and transported to the hospital. This afternoon we were able to accomplish that through the use of some technical rescue personnel brought in from Task Force 2 (Out of Nashville) and also from the Putnam County Structural Collapse Team and the Putnam County Rescue Squad. We've had a lot of other agencies that's been here in supporting roles helping get the victim's body removed and to accomplish this in a safe manner because we've had a very unstable situation here throughout the course of this whole operation," said Chief Green

The house was a two story structure with the front part at ground level and the rear of the home on stilts, according to Chief Green. "The way the house was constructed on the side of a hill, it was difficult to deal with considering the fact that we had trees that were still hanging over and on the structure endangering our rescuers that were attempting this operation. We had to look at all the aspects of scene safety in getting all this done," he said.

Pavone's body was found amid the rubble of the home, according to Chief Green. "I would describe the house as being a rubble pile. There was no construction that appeared to be what a house would normally look like. The house was totally collapsed and the body was inside the rubble," he said.

The sudden death of Ms. Pavone, who lived alone on Alpine Lane, was a double tragedy for the family. Pavone's brother, Frank Pavone had just passed away earlier in the day on Wednesday at DeKalb Community Hospital.

The funeral for Ms. Pavone will be Saturday at 5:00 p.m. at DeKalb Funeral Chapel. Following the service, the body will be cremated. Visitation will be Friday from 3:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. and Saturday from 3:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. A nurse by profession, she was preceded in death by her parents, Phillip and Mary Agnes Michela Pavone; a sister, Gloria Engelhardt; and a brother, Frank Pavone.

She is survived by children, Kari and husband Jacob Ashford of Liberty, Joseph LaRocco of Melrose Park, Illinois and Patricia and husband Mike Saylor of Bartlett, Illinois. Grandchildren, Michael Saylor, Antonio LaRocco, Claudia Ashford, and Taylor Ashford. Sisters, Darlene and Rosemary Pavone, Geraldine Lipkie and brothers, Anthony and Tommy Pavone.

DeKalb Funeral Chapel is in charge of the arrangements.

DeKalb County SR-56 Hurricane Bridge Closure Canceled

March 1, 2012

Tonight’s (Thursday's) scheduled closure of the Hurricane Bridge on State Route 56 over the Caney Fork River in DeKalb County has been canceled.

The closure, which is necessary to allow the contractor to pour a portion of the new concrete bridge deck, will be rescheduled. The work is part of a $26.9 million rehabilitation project which is scheduled to be complete in October 2013.

For travel and TDOT construction information visit the TDOT SmartWay web site at www.tn.gov/tdot/tdotsmartway or call 511 from any land-line or cellular phone. You can also receive traffic alerts via TDOT’s multiple Twitter feeds, including statewide traffic tweets @TN511 or Chattanooga area alerts @Chattanooga511. Smart phone users can use the TDOT SmartWay Mobile website at http://m.tdot.tn.gov/SmartWay/ to access TDOT’s SmartWay cameras and information on construction related lane closures and incidents on interstates and state routes.

As always, drivers are reminded to use all motorist information tools wisely and Know Before You Go! by checking travel conditions before leaving for their destination. Drivers should never tweet, text or talk on a cell phone while behind the wheel.

Local Red Cross Seeks Donations for Storm Relief Efforts

March 1, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

Local Red Cross volunteers, who have been rendering assistance at the scene of the storm damage on Cookeville Highway, are asking the public to donate food and bottled water for all those helping in the recovery and storm cleanup efforts. Monetary donations will also be accepted. If you would like to donate, stop by the Red Cross office in the new county complex on South Congress Boulevard.

DeKalb County Red Cross Volunteer Oscar Boyd explains in the following video how you can help.

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