Local News Articles

Businesses Urged to Participate in "Project Welcome Mat"

June 3, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
WJLE's Chamber Chat

The Smithville- DeKalb County Chamber of Commerce is encouraging all local businesses to participate in "Project Welcome Mat".

"Project Welcome Mat" is an effort by the Chamber to ensure that our Fiddler's Jamboree visitors feel welcome. Businesses are urged to use their signs to promote tourism and to show hospitality to people visiting DeKalb County.

The Fiddler's Jamboree will be held Friday and Saturday, July 3rd and 4th

"Project Welcome Mat" awards three categories, "Most Original" sign, "Best Worded" sign, and the "People's Choice"

For more information, call the Chamber of Commerce Office at 597-4163

(Pictured left to right: Louis Colombarini, Roger Sharp, Suzanne Williams, Jen Sherwood, and Larry Green)

Confederate Memorial Day Observed by Savage-Goodner Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans

June 3, 2009

The Savage-Goodner Camp, Sons of Confederate Veterans has placed wreaths at three DeKalb County sites in honor of Confederate Memorial Day. June 3, also the birthday of Confederate States of America President Jefferson, is a "special day of observance" under the Tennessee Code Annotated.

Patriotic red, white, and blue flower arrangements, donning the Confederate St. Andrew's Cross, have been placed at the Confederate monument on the DeKalb County Courthouse lawn, at the grave of the Unknown Confederate Soldier in the Smithville City Cemetery, and at the monument to Confederate General John Hunt Morgan on the Alexandria square.

The Savage-Goodner Camp, SCV encourages all DeKalb Countians to reflect upon the noble sacrifice of their ancestors during the War Between the States on this important day of remembrance.

With over 35-thousand members worldwide, the Sons of Confederate Veterans is a historial and educational organization composed of male descendants of Confederate military personnel who died in action or were honorably discharged from military service to the South.

Smithville Firefighters Say City Needs Ladder Truck

June 2, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page
Wallace Caldwell Addresses Mayor and Aldermen

The Smithville Volunteer Fire Department wants the city to invest in aerial apparatus, commonly referred to as a ladder truck.

Wallace Caldwell, member of the department and a training instructor addressed the mayor and aldermen Monday night. "I know you're probably thinking that we can't afford this at this time, with all the other problems that the city has. But I think, not as a fireman, but as a citizen that we cannot afford not to have one. We've lived on luck and borrowed time for sometime. I know we only have a few buildings downtown that are considered tall by a lot of people, the Board of Education, the Courthouse, and the white corner there at Cantrell's Jewelry. These people think that would be the only place that it would be used. But the buildings and the entire downtown area are old and very old. If an aerial apparatus was not readily available and if we had a fire downtown, we could be in a situation that would be much worse than a lot of us could even imagine."

"If we were to get a call late at night and the fire is not caught before it spreads or begins to get large, we could lose an entire city block, if not more. Because a working fire will double in size every sixty seconds. Yes, we could get mutual aid from another county, but by the time they got here, it would be too late."

"We have a lot of industries in Smithville in the area in which we cover, Shiroki Wickes, Walker, Star, Ferodo, the old shirt factory, and all the buildings downtown just to name a few. Industries that would like to locate here or might be looking at locating here would look at the infrastructure of a city, look at water and power, the workforce, and fire protection. Not to mention the ISO also looks at an aerial apparatus, which would help every person that has insurance inside the city, whether they own a business or home."

"The last point I'd like to make is can we really afford not to give the firemen of this city the tools that they need to fight the fires? Not only that, we need to give the kind of protection to the citizens and to the industries of this city that they deserve. So please, don't send us as firefighters to a gunfight with just a knife."

A ladder truck to meet Smithville's needs could cost from $800,000 to $900,000. The aldermen listened to Caldwell but gave no commitment .

In other business, the aldermen adopted an ordinance on first reading amending the city's personnel policy to give city employees with ten consecutive years of service a three week vacation with pay.

The amendment states that "after ten years of consecutive service of full time officers and employees, there will be three weeks of paid vacation."

The ordinance will be up for second and final reading passage following a public hearing at the June 15th meeting.

The aldermen also adopted an ordinance amendment on first reading establishing a flat rate court cost of $85.00 for the Smithville City Court.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson says "the city currently has court costs ranging from $20 to $95. Most towns around us have gone to a flat court cost. This ordinance proposes an $85 court cost straight across the board. It just simplifies the court costs and the record keeping."

The ordinance states as follows: Whereas, the Municipal Court Reform Act of 2004 allows cities to set and collect reasonable municipal court costs in the amounts prescribed by ordinance;

Whereas, the City of Smithville has determined that it is necessary to establish reasonable court costs for the City Court.

Now, therefore, be it resolved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville, as follows:

Section 1. The following section is hereby amended:

In all cases heard and determined by him, the city judge shall impose court costs in the amount of $85.00.

One dollar of the court costs in each case shall be forwarded by the court clerk to the state treasurer to be used by the administrative office of the courts for training and continuing education courses for municipal court judges and municipal court clerks. The above amount does not include the $13.75 litigation tax levied by the State of Tennessee.

The ordinance will be up for second and final reading passage following a public hearing at the June 15th meeting.

An ordinance was approved on first reading levying a litigation tax for the City of Smithville

Mayor Hendrixson says "On every case that goes before our city court, there's a state litigation tax of $14.75 which goes to the State of Tennessee. Our clerk has to send it to the state. DeKalb County and, as far as I know, everyone around us, has their own litigation tax. It's only people that break the laws of the City of Smithville, who will be paying this, it won't be your taxpayers. It's just a way to help operate the police department without raising taxes on the taxpayers. It will be an additional $13.75 city litigation tax."

The ordinance states as follows: Whereas, Public Chapter 488 of the Public Acts of 1981, which imposed a state litigation tax, has been interpreted by opinions of the State Attorney General as allowing cities to levy a litigation tax in the same manner as the litigation tax now levied by state law in an amount not to exceed the amount of such state litigation tax; and

Whereas, the City of Smithville does not impose a litigation tax as authorized by law and desires to levy such a tax to help pay for court and police related expenses; and

Now therefore, be it ordained by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Smithville that:

Section 1. Effective on the first day of each month following passage of this ordinance, a city litigation tax shall become effective as follows;

On cases in the city court there is hereby levied a city litigation tax to match the state litigation tax of $13.75

Section 2. The privilege taxes levied pursuant to this ordinance shall be paid to the City Recorder monthly to be used to assist in paying for the operation of the city court and the police department.

Section 3. This ordinance shall become effective on the first day of the month following the final passage of this ordinance."

The ordinance will be up for second and final reading passage following a public hearing at the June 15th meeting.

New City Budget May Include Increases in Water and Sewer Rates

June 1, 2009
by: 
Dwayne Page

Water and sewer rates for Smithville customers may increase as of July 1st with passage of the budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year.

The proposed new budget totals $6-million 074 thousand 558 dollars but the Smithville aldermen took no action on it Monday night.

Alderman Tonya Sullivan said she is concerned that the proposed rate hikes are too high and wants more time to study the budget. She recommended that a workshop be held. " As I looked over the water and sewer rates that are in here, they've increased drastically. We were supposed to have a workshop on this budget. We have not had a workshop and I feel that at this time that we need more time to consider this budget. I put that in the form of a motion. There may need to be an increase. I think that's something we need to work out to see where we might can cut our budget. Economic times are tough. I don't know if we can hit the public with a large amount all at one time. It may need to be spread out over a period of time."

Mayor Taft Hendrixson said the water and sewer fund is currently running in the red and if that continues two years in a row, the state will adjust the rates if the city doesn't act. Mayor Hendrixson says the major reason for the higher costs of operation is in electricity and to a lesser extent, chemicals. "We haven't had an increase since 1998. Right now the minimum bill for a thousand gallons of water is $7.47, I believe. With the new rate, it would be $10.00. We're operating the water and sewer department in the red this year to the tune of probably close to $200,000. Now the state department will only let us do that for two years, then they will come in and set our rates. If our rates remain the same, they're (water and sewer fund) is probably going to operate in a deficit again next year. I want to do it (rate increase) as less as I can, but for a minimum usage of two dollars and a half a month (increase), it is not a large amount."

According to page 13 of the proposed 2009-10 budget, the water and sewer fund ended the year on June 30th, 2008 with a net income of $330,384.

When the 2008-09 budget was adopted in June, 2008, the projection was that on June 30th, 2009 the water and sewer fund would be in the red by $149,410 as indicated on page 13 of the (2008-09) budget. The revised budget shows that the water and sewer fund will be in the red by $229,344 as indicated on page 13 of the proposed (2009-2010) budget.

The water and sewer fund is projected to finish the year on June 30th, 2010 in the red by $35,308 as indicated on page 13 of the proposed 2009-2010 budget.

Alderman Cecil Burger agreed with Alderman Sullivan that a workshop should be held before any action is taken on the new budget. " I thought for about three months we were going to set a date to do that and then last week I got this (budget), just figures thrown out with no explanation, where they come from, who put them there, or nothing."

The aldermen voted 5-0 to schedule the workshop for Monday, June 8th at 6:30 p.m. at city hall.

Alderman Sullivan said the firefighters and other department heads could also have input at the workshop. "They (firefighters) have provided a list of equipment they need. We could discuss it at the meeting. Any other department heads can come to that meeting if they are not happy with this budget."

The city's financial consultant, Janice Plemmons will be asked to attend the workshop.

Under the proposed new budget, the rate for city water customers would increase from the current level of $3.50 to $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus a $1.25 increase from the current rate of $3.50 to $4.75 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Rates for customers outside the city limits are 50% higher. Outside city rates would increase to $7.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $7.25 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District is $1.85 per thousand gallons but will increase to $1.90 for January 1st, 2010 sales.

The rate for city sewer customers, under the new budget, would increase from the current level of $3.62 to $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus a one dollar increase from the current rate of $3.25 to $4.25 per thousand gallons thereafter.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits would jump from $400 to $1,000 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fee would go from $400 to $800 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, the fees are $2,000 for water and $1,200 for sewer..

For customers outside the city limits, water tap fees would increase from $525 to $1,500 for a three quarter inch line. Fees would go from $525 to $1,000 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, then the fees would be $2,500 for water and $2,000 for sewer.

Mayor Hendrixson says the city has been losing money under the current rate structure for tap fees.

The single largest project in the proposed new budget is the renovation of the water treatment plant which is to be funded from almost $4 million in available water and sewer department reserves..The city is also hoping to receive a $500,000 Community Development Block Grant to help fund the project. The rehab is not the reason for the proposed water and sewer rate increases.
The proposed budget does not include funds for any full time volunteer firefighters. In April, Fire Chief Charlie Parker and other members of the department met with the mayor and aldermen in a workshop to formally make the request. The firefighters want their all volunteer unit to become a combination department with a few full time firefighters as well as volunteers.
In the proposal, the firefighters requested that the city fund two full time firefighter positions per 24 hour shift, for a total of six positions along with an administrative person. They also asked that some extra funds be designated in the budget for training and that the firefighters pay scale be changed. Currently, the firefighters each receive $15 per call.

Under the new spending plan, the property tax rate will remain the same at almost 62 cents ($.6194 cents) per $100 of assessed value.

The proposed budget calls for city employees with up to four years of service to get their automatic step pay increases as defined in the wage scale but there would be no cost of living increase. City employees with more than four years of service, who have topped out on the wage scale would also get no cost of living adjustment.

Proposed capital outlay expenditures in the general fund for the new year come to $860,000. Specific projects are as follows: Financial Administration- $20,000 unspecified; Parks and Recreation- $15,000 unspecified; Public Works/Buildings and Grounds- $20,000 unspecified; City Hall Building Alteration per ADA- $30,000 including $5,000 for handicapped rehabilitation and $25,000 unspecified; Fire Protection- $15,000 unspecified; Street Department- $20,000 including $10,000 for downtown beautification and $10,000 unspecified; Police Department- $15,000 unspecified; Swimming Pool- $10,000 for capital repairs; Airport- $730,000 unspecified (grant funds); Animal Shelter- $5,000 unspecified; Sanitation Fund- $5,000 and Drug Fund- $10,000 unspecified.

Proposed water and sewer fund Fixed Asset Additions: 1 truck- $5,000; an update of the water plant and engineering fees- $1,750,000; a sewer rehabilitation camera-$25,000. Debt repayment-principal: bonds- $220,000.

Although these capital outlay projects are budgeted, they all may not be funded during the year.

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!

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