Local News Articles

State Senator Mae Beavers Legislative Update

April 10, 2010
State Senator Mae Beavers

The following is a legislative update from State Senator Mae Beavers.

Senate Committees approved several important bills this week as they prepare to close for the 2010 legislative session. The focus will shift next week to the state budget as the State Legislature plans to conclude the 106th General Assembly within three to four weeks.

Committees prepare to close for 2010 session and address important issues, including resolutions against overreaching by Congress

Among legislation approved this week were two resolutions designed to fight back against the overreach of power from Congress, which includes the passage of the massive federal healthcare bill last month. Senate Joint Resolution 897, sponsored by Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey and co-sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers and which was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee, urges Tennessee’s Attorney General to join a growing number of other states in challenging the unconstitutional provisions in the federal government takeover of the nation’s health care system. The resolution states the General Assembly shares the concern with at least eighteen other states that mandated insurance coverage for citizens within their boundaries violates the Commerce Clause and the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Currently eighteen states, over one-third of the United States, are seeking to challenge the federal law in court.

Similarly, the Senate State and Local Government Committee and the full Senate approved Senate Joint Resolution 715, which asks Congress to submit to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to stop the practice of passing unfunded mandates and programs to the states, except in a situation of financial emergency as declared by a two-thirds vote of their membership.

The resolution comes after the passage the federal healthcare bill, which is estimated to possibly cost the state as much as $200 million annually.

The proposed amendment would prohibit the federal government from authorizing state participation in federal programs or services unless funding is guaranteed by the federal government for the full duration of the programs or services. If federal funds are not appropriated for the program or service, the law enacted or regulation promulgated would become null and void.

Senate Judiciary Committee approves Resolution to let citizens decide whether the state’s Attorney General should be elected

The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a resolution sponsored by Senator Mae Beavers calling for an elected State Attorney General (AG). The resolution, Senate Joint Resolution 698, would amend the state’s Constitution to allow a popular election every four years.

“Tennessee is the only state in the nation that allows the State Supreme Court to select the attorney general,” said Senator Beavers, who is Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. “Forty-three states already select their attorney generals through popular election and it is time for this General Assembly to also show their confidence in the collective wisdom of the people of Tennessee.”

In six other states, the Attorney General is selected by either the popularly elected Governor or the popularly elected state legislature. Beavers said that when Tennessee’s Constitution was written calling for nomination by the Supreme Court Justices, the court was popularly elected.

“Tennessee is the only state in the nation in which the people have neither a direct nor indirect voice in the selection of their Attorney General,” Beavers added. “Someone has to be accountable to the people, and this week’s AG opinion on the Health Freedom Act shows once again, the importance of having an Attorney General who represents the will of the people of this state.”

The amendment process would require approval by both the 106th General Assembly currently in session and the 107th, which will take office in 2011. If approved, the question would then go to voters in a statewide referendum in the year 2014.

“Along with the overwhelming majority of Tennesseans and 96% of the rest of this nation, I feel that the citizens of this state ought to have a ‘say so’ in the highest legal office in Tennessee,” she concluded.

Issues In Brief

Unemployment – Tennessee's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February 2010 was 10.7 percent, unchanged from the January rate of 10.7 percent according to newly released statistics. The United States unemployment rate for the month of February was 9.7 percent. County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for February 2010 show that the rate decreased in 78 counties, increased in 10 counties and remained the same in seven counties.

Child Abduction – The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved legislation, Senate Bill 3065, which aims to reduce the risk of child abduction in Tennessee. The bill would provide courts with guidelines to follow regarding potential child abductions and to provide courts with appropriate measures to prevent these crimes. The legislation would provide judges with information about abduction risk factors so that they can place appropriate restrictions to prevent abductions. Among factors included are whether the respondent has previously abducted or attempted to abduct the child; has threatened to abduct the child; has engaged in domestic violence; has refused to follow a child-custody determination; has strong family or cultural ties to another state or country; or other related factors.

Voter Registration – The Senate State and Local Government Committee has approved Senate Bill 194, which would require voter registration forms to carry a disclaimer that clarifies giving false information to register to vote carries a criminal penalty. The legislation also requires that the applicant affirm that they are lawfully in the United States.

Veterans / State Parks – The full Senate has passed legislation to instruct the Division of Parks and Recreation to designate one day per year during which access to and use of all state parks would be free of charge for all veterans. The bill, Senate Bill 3212, includes use of campgrounds, and golf courses, as long as the veteran shows proof of their status.

Finance Group upgrades state’s credit rating – Tennessee’s credit rating has been upgraded by Fitch Ratings from a AA to a AAA rating. Fitch is a leading global rating agency which provides the world's credit markets with independent credit opinions. Fitch, together with Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, are the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The LOOP- A Legislative Update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

April 10, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

The following is a legislative update from State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver.

Greetings! I was extremely blessed to have my father with me at the capitol this week. He spent the day attending committee meetings and house session with me, seeing exactly how law is made. It was truly an honor to have him with me.

Many bills are steadily being heard as session keeps rolling along. On Monday evening, the House unanimously passed legislation that prohibits the Board of Medical Examiners from issuing a license to practice medicine in Tennessee to anyone convicted of and registered as a violent sexual offender. The bill passed the Senate unanimously in late March.

In addition to prohibiting violent sexual offenders from practicing any kind of medicine, the bill also requires the board to hold a hearing regarding any application to practice medicine from a non-violent sexual offender. During the hearing the medical board has to consider the extent to which the applicant poses a risk to patients before determining whether or not to grant a medical license.

Bill to ensure fiscal accuracy passes House
This week legislators passed a measure requiring the audit of fiscal notes after the end of each legislative session in an effort to help ensure their accuracy. Fiscal notes are official estimates given to the cost associated with each proposed piece of legislation. The audits will compare the estimated cost of the legislation as stated by the official fiscal note to the actual cost of implementing the law change by its affected agency or department. Having already passed the Senate, the bill is now on its way to the Governor.

Fiscal notes are written by the Legislative Fiscal Review Committee, and are often the subject of debate and can impact the outcome of legislation due to the estimated cost. Any piece of legislation with a fiscal note that indicates even $1 of cost must go through the Budget Subcommittee and Finance Committees, an added step to the legislative process. The Fiscal Review Committee bases fiscal notes on cost estimates given to them by the affected governmental agency or department.

House leaders ask Bredesen to reconsider state employee bonuses
House leaders sent a letter to Governor Bredesen this week asking him to reconsider the state employee bonus plan in the current proposed budget. The leaders said members are concerned about handing out bonuses to all state employees, while laying off others. In addition, they stated they felt it was inappropriate that many state employees at the top of the pay scale stand to receive $4,000 to $5,000 bonuses as lawmakers struggle to find ways to balance the budget.

The Governor proposed an across the board three percent bonus for all state employees including those top executive cabinet members who make $130,000 to $180,000. The estimated cost to the state for the bonuses is $164 million. In a year where lawmakers are watching every penny, House leaders question whether or not bonuses are appropriate.

The letter went on to say, “We recognize that state employees play a critical role in the day to day operation of this state, however, we question whether $164 million in three percent employee bonuses are appropriate in a year when so many cuts and reductions in state departments and programs are necessary.”

The letter was sent to the Governor’s office Thursday afternoon, as lawmakers wait for the Governor’s supplemental budget amendment which is scheduled to be released on April 15th.

Committee discusses eminent domain proposal
Legislation that would strengthen the state’s eminent domain laws was discussed at length in the House Judiciary Committee this week. House Bill 3338 would entitle property owners to recoup certain costs incurred in contesting eminent domain action from the condemning authority. The bill was amended to allow for non-binding arbitration to reduce time and cost for small businesses.

The sponsor of the bill argued that abusive practices are not currently discouraged. If the bill is successful, it would give property owners a better opportunity to defend themselves. The meeting was adjourned before a vote was taken on the legislation, which is scheduled again for next Wednesday.

Race to the Top allocations to school systems announced
The Tennessee Department of Education released tentative totals this week as to how much money each school system in the state can expect as a result of winning the “Race to the Top” program. State officials said the numbers are tentative, as they will be traveling to Washington soon to finalize the details regarding the specific dollar amount the state will receive.

The state is set to receive approximately $500 million. About $250 million of that will be divided between school systems across the state. Each individual school system must decide what the money will be used for, although the program does have certain restrictions. Funds cannot be used for facilities, capital projects, buses, or raises. To find out how much the school system in your community will tentatively receive, contact your state representative’s office.

Tennessee ‘middle of the pack’ in census returns
The United States Census Bureau reported this week that Tennessee’s participation rate is estimated at roughly 64 percent, putting the state in the middle of the pack in regards to return rates. Because federal funding for money returning to Tennessee is based upon the population as counted by the census, it is important that all Tennesseans respond.

Some areas with low return rates will see additional census forms mailed to their homes after research showed re-sending forms could increase the response rate by 7 to 10 percent. The U.S. Census Bureau said if people filled out and returned a form but receive another, they should destroy the duplicate.

In closing, it is an honor to serve and represent you the 40th District. If you would like to visit my office to discuss upcoming legislation, any particular concerns, or just to see what it is that the Representatives do up here please give my office a call.

Smithville Police Make Arrest in Stolen Van Investigation

April 10, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page

Smithville Police have arrested a man for auto theft and vandalism in a stolen van investigation.

23 year old Justin Hale of 240 Poplar Street was arrested last Sunday. His bond is set at $30,000 and he will be in court on April 15th.

On Easter Sunday, Corporal Travis Bryant was advised by Deputy Bobby Johnson that he had recovered a vehicle on McMinnville Highway on Saturday, April 3rd. At the time of recovery, the automobile had not been reported stolen. Upon investigation of the abandoned vehicle, officers discovered that it had been stolen from Love-Cantrell Funeral Home.

Corporal Bryant spoke with Renee Hennessee of Love-Cantrell Funeral Home and she stated that the van had been parked around back of the funeral home and was last seen on Friday, April 2nd at approximately 8:30 p.m..

Officers found damage to the inside and outside of the van and the license plate on it had been stolen from a 2006 Chevy van in Warren County sometime over the weekend. Upon further investigation, Hale was arrested for auto theft and vandalism.

39 year old Cheryl Ann Perkins of 1001 King Ridge Road, Dowelltown was cited by Officer Scott Davis on Friday, April 2nd for shoplifting. Ms. Perkins was observed by a Wal-Mart employee taking several items of merchandise. She allegedly had them on her person and attempted to leave the store without paying for them. She will be in General Sessions Court on April 15th.

34 year old Guillermo Villa Reyes of Winston-Salem, North Carolina was arrested on Friday, April 2nd for driving under the influence. K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was assisting EMS at 322 West Broad Street when he discovered Mr. Reyes passed out behind the wheel of his car in the parking lot. There were several beers about the car and the parking lot in the immediate area of the vehicle. The keys were in the ignition. Officer Tatrow noticed Mr. Reyes bleeding from his nose and eye area from small lacerations. Upon waking him, the officer asked Reyes to exit the vehicle. He was so unsteady that he could not stand without aide from Officer Tatrow and Officer Nathan Estes. Mr. Reyes also had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage about his person. Field sobriety tests were not performed due to the language barrier and for fear of Mr. Reyes' safety due to his inability to stand without aide. Mr. Reyes was arrested for DUI and transported to the emergency room of DeKalb Community Hospital, where he received treatment for the injuries on his face. It was later discovered that Mr. Reyes had fallen some time before Officer Tatrow had made contact with him. Reyes submitted to chemical tests to determine the alcohol/drug content of his blood. The results of those tests are pending. Bond for Reyes was set at $1,500 and his court date is April 22nd.

35 year old Jeremy Aaron Bilbrey of 415 West Broad Street was arrested on Tuesday, April 6th. for driving on a revoked license. Sergeant Randy King was responding to a call when he saw Bilbrey driving a red one ton truck. Sergeant King knew Bilbrey's license was revoked for DUI due to his plea in criminal court in DeKalb County. Bond for Bilbrey was set at $1,000 and his court date is May 6th.

32 year old Terika D Faux of 3075 Sparta Highway was arrested on Thursday, April 8th for two counts of unauthorized use of a credit card. On Wednesday, April 7th Corporal Travis Bryant met with Tiffany Wright who said that on Tuesday, April 6th her wallet had been stolen out of her car in Lebanon and when she checked her bank records she discovered two unauthorized purchases made at McDonald's and McDonald's Red Box in Smithville. Upon further investigation, Corporal Bryant viewed surveillance video and saw Ms. Faux using Ms. Wright's debit card at a business in Watertown which led to his questioning of Ms. Faux. She was advised of her rights and questioned about the theft of Ms. Wright's wallet. She completed a statement at the police department where she allegedly admitted taking and using the items. Her bond is set at $2,000 and her court date is April 15th.

50 year old Judy Vaughn Youngblood of 310 East Broad Street was cited on Thursday, April 8th for simple possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. While K-9 Officer Bradley Tatrow was investigating a complaint of drug activity at 310 East Broad Street, he received verbal consent to search the residence. Approximately .10 grams of a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana was recovered in the kitchen area in a canister as well as from a tackle box. Also found was a round blue device believed to have been used to crush the marijuana. A pair of scales believed to have been used to weigh the marijuana was also recovered from the tackle box. Youngblood's court date is May 6th..

37 year old Jeffery Lynn Murphy of 399 Cooper Drive McMinnville was arrested on Friday, April 9th by Sergeant Randy King for violation of probation. Murphy is being held without bond. His court date is April 12th.

Meanwhile, anyone having 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 Sunday, April 4th Officer Scott Davis took a theft report at 428 Morgan Drive. The victim stated that she noticed her green/black gas weed eater missing around 3:00 pm. She said the last time she saw the weed eater was on Saturday, April 3rd and it was lying on top of her lawn mower.

On Thursday, April 8th, Officer Scott Davis took a report of theft from a vehicle at 415 West Broad Street. According to the three victims involved, they had left some items in a vehicle around 7:00 p.m on Wednesday, April 7th and went out of town. After returning they discovered some things missing. Items taken were: Garmin GPS, Craftsman socket set and two Memphis Mojo sub woofers.

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

The Smithville Police Department has also received complaints of a scam targeting the elderly. According to citizens, people are approaching elderly homeowners requesting to do odd jobs around their residence. They request payment before service is rendered. Once paid, they do not return to provide services. Anyone approached by such persons should not pay until service is completed. Also anyone having information regarding such activity is requested to contact the Smithville Police Department or the tip line at 464-6046.

The Smithville Police Department is also currently investigating several other types of scams that have recently been reported.

Lt. Steven Leffew would like to make you aware of how you can help protect yourself from being victimized by these scams.

Reduce your risk of telephone fraud scams
When you're speaking with an unknown caller, keep in mind these tactics for avoiding phone fraud:

"When in doubt, ask for more information in writing about the organization calling or the offer being presented.

"Never feel obligated to provide your credit card number over the phone.

"Educate yourself about the cost of "900" number calls and how you can block such calls from getting through.

"Get as many details as you can - for example, ask how much of your donation will go toward the charity as opposed to paying for administrative costs. The fewer questions the caller can answer, the less likely he or she is legitimate.

"Get a call-back number, either so you can initiate the call yourself or because you may need to report it later.

"Stay informed so you're aware of the latest trends in telephone fraud.

Your best response
If you encounter one of these all-too-common scenarios, you'll be prepared to handle it.

"If you get a call from someone posing as a representative from your financial institution and asking for your account or personal information, hang up immediately and call your bank to verify any claims.

"If a telemarketer offers you a get-rich-quick opportunity, the best response is to turn him or her down right away.

"Avoid offers informing you that you've won a prize. Respondents are often asked to pay for "shipping" or a "deposit" for a prize that never existed in the first place.

"Be wary of calls soliciting contributions to charitable causes, particularly those regarding disaster relief. Many times, these solicitors are not legitimate. You're better off choosing a worthy cause and contacting them yourself than responding to a random telefunding request.

Reduce your risk of home fraud scams
Be sure to take these everyday precautions for the general well-being of your financial information.

"Monitor your accounts online at least once a week so you'll have early notice of any suspicious activities. In addition, paying and monitoring your bills online will eliminate the risk of having printed statements lost, misplaced or removed from your mailbox.

"Get your credit report, and make sure everything appears correct. You're entitled to a free copy every 12 months, so there's no reason to hold off.

"Opt in to your financial institution's offer to have "account alerts" delivered to your cell phone or email. It's another way of staying on top of your account activity so you can respond promptly if you notice anything amiss.

"Don't give out financial or other personal information over the phone, unless you initiated the call and have confirmed the identity of the party on the other end. Don't be afraid to ask questions, including asking for a callback number. Get more information about how you can protect yourself from mail and phone fraud.

"Store important documents in a secure, locked box - preferably a strongbox that cannot be damaged by fire, flood, or other disaster.

"Keep personal records, payroll information, insurance files, and other sensitive information stored securely out of sight to minimize the chances that your papers end up in the wrong hands. Half of all identity fraud is committed by friends, family members, relatives, employees, live-in caregivers, and other individuals working in or around the home.

Check the mail
Your mailbox is an extension of your home and is, therefore, another channel you should protect from unwanted intruders.

"Never give out personal information in a reply envelope. Identity thieves may send out official-looking letters, often posing as banks.

"Beware of notices announcing that you've won a prize, such as an expensive TV or car. Some scams request for victims to pay substantial "shipping" fees for delivery, but the prize never arrives. A similar scam is an invitation that asks you to send money in order to participate in a foreign lottery.

"Watch out for bills that do not arrive as expected, unexpected credit card account or account statements, denial of credit for no apparent reason, and letters about purchases you did not make.

"Notify your Post Office or fill out the online form immediately if you change your address. You should also make sure your mailbox is secured, promptly remove delivered mail, and put your postal delivery on hold before you go on vacation.

"If you receive any suspicious correspondence or if a forwarding order has been placed on your mail without your knowledge, contact your Post Office right away. To file a complaint about mail theft or fraud, notify the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

School Board says Okay to Softball Field at DeKalb Middle

April 8, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
DeKalb Middle School Principal Randy Jennings Addresses School Board

The DeKalb County Board of Education Thursday night approved a request from Principal Randy Jennings and Head Coach Karen Pelham for the construction of a softball field for the Lady Saints fast pitch softball team.

In a letter to the board, Jennings and Pelham wrote, "The DeKalb County Middle School Softball Program and Booster Club would like permission to utilize the land behind the school to construct a softball field for the fast pitch softball team. This project would be done through donations and possibly fundraising and would be at no cost to the local school system."

"This field would benefit the softball program tremendously. Currently, games are played at the Bill Page Park and a few games are played at the DCHS field. Practices are conducted at the Bill Page Park which means parents are responsible for getting their child to the field for practice after school. This would eliminate the transportation issue and would make the facility more accessible to the students and coaches."

Jennings also addressed the board in person during Thursday night's meeting . "We're not trying to say that by this time next year we want something that looks like DeKalb County High School's softball field. We understand it's probably going to take a few years to get it completely up and running but we'd like to at least get started so that maybe we can practice there so that we alleviate the transportation issues on a daily basis for practices and then maybe in the year after get it (field) in a condition to where maybe we can have some bleachers so we can start playing some games there. Eventually we want to have some type of press box, restrooms, and things to be able to hold all our games there."

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby, in a brief update on personnel moves, announced that Walteen Parker, Basketball Cheerleader Coach has resigned that position. Larry Steffee, a teacher at DCHS is retiring.

The board adopted a resolution of appreciation honoring administrative and instructional support staff.

Board Chairman Charles Robinson read the resolution, " Whereas, administrative and instructional support staff members provide services and handle functions which are essential to the effectiveness and efficiency of our schools; and

Whereas, administrative and instructional support staff members tend to bring encouragement, cheer, goodwill, and support to our schools each day. They brighten the lives of our students and other staff members and help to make schools inviting places; and

Whereas, our teachers and administrators depend upon administrative and instructional support staff members to prepare learning materials, operate the office and carry out business functions, tutor, counsel, advise and guide individual students and perform a variety of other activities that result in an improved learning environment for students and their teachers throughout the school year; and

Whereas, some administrative and instructional support staff members serve as the faces of our schools welcoming and assisting students and visitors while others work behind the scenes. They all build public support for our schools by carrying success stories about schools to their communities; and

Whereas, the Board values the efforts, achievements, commitment and immeasurable support of administrative and instructional support staff members who strive to improve the educational process for each student;

Now, therefore be it resolved that the Board of Education hereby establishes April 15th, 2010 as Administrative and Instructional Support Staff Appreciation Day in all DeKalb County Schools; and

Be it further resolved that the board encourages all faculty, students, and members of the community to join us in recognizing these individuals on this day for the vital role they play in the success of our school system and in the lives of students."

School Health Coordinator Dee Anna Persinger updated the board on the recent H1N1 clinics and the spring break backpack program. "I just wanted everybody to know that we just wrapped up our H1N1 clinic. Our second dose was given on Tuesday to approximately 108 students. Those were the children under the age of ten that required the second dose."

"Also our backpack program for spring break was very successful. We were able to do that through donations only this time. No money was received through coordinated school health. It was all done through churches, individuals, and a great partnership with the Keltonburg United Methodist Church and Second Harvest. We fed about 150 students and we included all five schools this time instead of just one. We are planning on doing this again for summer break so we're collecting food and we're looking for more food donations."

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-K to 6th grade informed the board that TCAP testing will begin next week. "It's an opportunity for our three through eighth grade students to show what all they have learned. Our testing window will open up on Friday (April 16th) and we will be doing Reading/Language Arts. On Monday, we will start with Math. On Tuesday, we will be testing Science and on Wednesday we will be testing Social Studies. Each day these tests come in part one and part two with approximately one hour for each part so the children will be taking the tests most of the mornings. Parents, please have your children present in school and on time on those days because it will be very important that they take the tests with us. In the afternoon there will be make up times so please have your children there all day long. If they do miss a day, they will have an opportunity to make up that test in the afternoon and later in the week because do we have a six day window to test."

Jonathan Fontanez, Supervisor of Instruction for grades 7-12 says it's also testing time for high school students. "The last week of April, starting April 27th through May 3rd we will begin our on-line gateway assessment for Algebra I, English II, and Biology I students who are scheduled to take the gateway assessment on-line. Following that, the first and second weeks of May, we will be administering the End of Course Assessments starting with the Algebra I, English II and Biology End of Course. The second week of May, we will begin with our other non-AYP End of Course Assessments, U.S. History and English IX. The third week of May we begin our finals and of course graduation is on May 21st. So as my counterpart said be sure your students come to school well nourished, well rested so that they will do well on these assessments. They have had some tremendous successes this year already and we look forward to them, this second semester, having even greater successes."

Amanda Dakas of the DeKalb County Education Association reported to the board that the DCEA has won a state award for membership growth. The award will be presented on May 7th at the Nashville Convention Center. Dakas added " I'm proud of our teachers for their professional involvement and we thank you for always working with our organization."

Dakas also acknowledged Greg Owens who won the Friend of Education Award for the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Education Association's highest award. He was nominated last fall by the DeKalb County Education Association. Owens expressed his thanks for the opportunity to represent DeKalb County."

The board adopted on second and final reading a policy providing for a student representative on the Board of Education.

The policy states that "The DeKalb County Board of Education may select one high school student representative to serve in an advisory position to the Board. This student shall be designated by the DeKalb County High School Principal to serve for one school year. The student representative shall serve without compensation.

Some responsibilities of the DeKalb County Student Representative are as follows:

1.Attend the monthly meeting of the DeKalb County Board of Education

2. Communicate needs including questions, concerns, problems, updates, and suggestions to the Board of Education.

3.Help design a banner for the DeKalb County School System for the TSBA Fall Conference, as per TSBA guidelines, to be presented at the October School Board Meeting.

4.Attend the annual Student Congress on Policies in Education (SCOPE) Conference if funding is available.

DCHS student Megan Sullivan is the current Student Representative on the board.

The board received two sealed bids on the sale of surplus property (two 1997 Blue Bird school buses). The board awarded the bid to Paul's Equipment Company of Hamblin, Kentucky who bid $2,257 for each of the two buses.

The board approved a request for the use of DeKalb County School buses to transport 4-H'ers to the Regional 4-H Clover Bowl in Cookeville May 14th; to Junior 4-H Camp at Crossville June 21st-25th; and to the Sub-Regional 4-H Project Day at Cookeville May 11th.

Nearly 48,000 Tennesseans have collected $345,859,166 in homebuyer credits.

April 8, 2010

Nearly 48,000 Tennesseans already have collected $345,859,166 in homebuyer credits.

As the deadline draws near, the Internal Revenue Service reminds potential homebuyers that they must have a binding contract to purchase a home by April 30, 2010 and must close on that home by June 30, 2010 to qualify for a homebuyer credit.

“This is a sizable tax credit. It would be unfortunate for any potential homebuyer to leave this money on the table simply because they missed the deadline,” said Dan Boone, IRS spokesman. “If you’re in the market, adjust your timeline accordingly to take advantage of this credit.”

Nationally, through mid-February, nearly 1.8 million Americans had filed returns to collect $12.6 billion in tax credits for homes that they purchased in 2008 and 2009.

Who Qualifies - Two Different Credits
The First-Time Homebuyer Credit provides up to $8,000 for taxpayers buying a new home if it is their first home or if they have not owned a home in the three years before the date of purchase. Legislation in 2009 expanded the credit to include long-time residents who purchase a new main home after Nov. 6, 2009. To qualify for this version of the credit, which is a maximum of $6,500, eligible taxpayers must show that they owned and lived in their old home for a five-consecutive-year period during the eight-year period ending on the purchase date of the new home.

For married couples, both spouses must qualify in order to claim the credit. Income limits apply for single and married taxpayers. Buyers who purchased homes through Nov. 6, 2009 may qualify for the full credit if their modified adjusted gross income is $75,000 or less ($150,000 for joint filers). For purchases Nov. 7, 2009 or later, the full credit is available with MAGI up to $125,000 ($225,000 for joint filers). The credit is reduced for higher incomes and eventually phases out.

The credit is fully refundable, meaning eligible taxpayers will be paid the credit even if they owe no tax or the credit is more than the tax owed.

How to Claim the Homebuyer Credit
Taxpayers claiming a homebuyer credit must file a paper return and attach Form 5405, First-Time Homebuyer Credit and Repayment of the Credit, with additional documents to verify the purchase. Although these taxpayers cannot file electronically, they can use IRS Free File or other tax-preparation software to prepare the return, which they can then print and mail to the IRS, along with required documentation.

Qualifying buyers who purchased a home in 2009 could claim the credit on their 2008 or 2009 tax return. Qualifying taxpayers who purchase in 2010 have the option of claiming the credit on either their 2009 or 2010 tax return.

Documentation to Include With the Tax Return
Taxpayers who entered into a binding contract by April 30, 2010 to purchase a home by June 30, 2010 should attach a copy of the pages from the signed binding contract to make a purchase. Binding contracts should show all parties’ names and signatures, the property address, the purchase price and the date of the contract.

Homebuyers must attach a copy of a properly executed settlement statement, such as the HUD-1 form, for their purchase. These statements can vary by geographic area and local law and typically are not available for the purchase of a newly constructed home or a mobile home. For guidance on document requirements for these purchases, the IRS has prepared a Special Edition IRS Tax Tip 2010-05 that is available on the IRS.gov web site. (http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=221032,00.html)

The IRS recommends that taxpayers claiming the $6,500 credit for long-time residents buying a new main home attach documents that verify the five-consecutive-year period of homeownership such as Form 1098, Mortgage Interest Statement or substitute mortgage interest statements, property tax records or homeowner’s insurance records.

Additional Time for Members of the Military
Members of the Armed Forces and certain federal employees serving outside the U.S. have an extra year to buy a principal residence in the U.S. and still qualify for the credit. Individuals who are eligible for this extension must enter into a binding contract to buy a home no later than April 30, 2011, and settle on the purchase by June 30, 2011.

More information
For more information about the First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit and the documentation requirements, visit IRS.gov/recovery.

Riley Brothers Indicted in Local Burglaries and Thefts

April 6, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Martin Riley
Timothy Riley

The Grand Jury Monday indicted two brothers on several burglary and theft charges stemming from break-ins which occurred late last summer in DeKalb County.

44 year old Martin Riley and 50 year old Timothy Riley are co-indicted on two charges of aggravated burglary, one count of theft over $1,000, one count of theft under $500, and vandalism under $500.

Meanwhile Martin Riley is indicted on two charges of aggravated burglary, three counts of theft over $1,000, and one count of theft over $500.

The indictments against the two brothers together allege that:

Martin and Timothy Riley, on or about September 4th, 2009, entered the home of John Trobaugh and stole a stove, refrigerator, microwave, television, radio, and a telescope over the value of $1,000.

Martin and Timothy Riley, on or about August 20th, 2009, entered the home of Joyce Murphy, stole a leaf blower under the value of $500, and damaged a metal door .

The indictments against Martin Riley allege that:
Martin Riley, on or about September 1st, 2009, entered the home of Rand Fredrickson and stole a stove, refrigerator, microwave, television, radio, and telescope, over the value of $1,000

Martin Riley, on or about September 1st, 2009, entered the home of Katy Elean and removed a stainless freezer, stainless refrigerator, a gas range, television, microwave, and a wicker night stand, over the value of $1,000.

Martin Riley, on or about September 9th, 2009, stole a lawn mower, a six foot trailer, a generator over the value of $1,000, and a Troy Built riding lawn mower over the value of $500 belonging to Kelly Hollingsworth

Last September, Sheriff Patrick Ray said the Riley brothers were believed to have been responsible for several burglaries and thefts in DeKalb and other counties.

According to Sheriff Ray, the Riley brothers didn't just allegedly steal small things, they also allegedly took large expensive household appliances. "We've recovered all kinds of stainless steel refrigerators, stainless steel stoves, stainless steel freezers, radios, cd players, microwaves, toaster ovens, anything they could go into a house and get."

Sheriff Ray says the Riley's favorite targets were lake homes although they allegedly burglarized other residences as well "They would make entry into the houses, mostly lake homes, where people are not there everyday, push all these appliances up next to the door or on the front porch, and then they would go, get a vehicle, come back and load it all up, and sell it right then."

A couple of the break-ins, for which the Rileys are believed to have been responsible, were on Shady Drive and Ponder Road. "On September 9th, detectives investigated a break-in at a residence on Shady Drive where someone had stolen a lawn mower, a six foot trailer, and a generator. Another was on Ponder Road where they had broken into a cabin and stolen refrigerators and other appliances."

Sheriff Ray says the Rileys also allegedly burglarized homes in the City of Smithville. "There have also been some cases in the City of Smithville with which we were able to help the Smithville Police Department. They (Rileys) took some of the same things they were taking out in the county such as lawn mowers. In one case they took lots of health and beauty aids that an individual had bought by the boxes, things like shampoo and toothpaste, and they (Rileys) sold that to an individual."

The investigation also implicated the Rileys in a scheme to steal a bobcat. "There was a bobcat that was rented in Warren County. It was delivered here in the City of Smithville. These two individuals were involved with that. Martin Riley went up there (McMinnville) and gave the people at the rental center some fake information and when they brought the bobcat down here he and his brother Tim loaded the bobcat on a trailer and sold it to a man in Indiana."

After stealing the goods, Sheriff Ray says the Rileys then tried to sell them as quickly as possible. "We believe they went around the county, asking people if they wanted to buy a lawnmower or refrigerator or whatever, but the people who bought the items didn't realize they were stolen. At one of the places where they sold some of the items, the guy (buyer) had a vehicle tag that was laying over on the ground, which was still in date. They (Rileys) took the tag, stole it from him, and put it on their vehicle."

According to Sheriff Ray the Rileys didn't just peddle the stolen goods locally. " In one case, they took a lawnmower from one of the break-ins and sold it to a guy on the street in Nashville."
He says in some cases, the Riley's were so anxious to make a sale that it aroused the suspicion of the buyers. " At two places in the county where they had made a sale, the people noticed something strange about the refrigerators because they were still cold. Some of them actually had ice still in the ice box."

City to have Blighted Building Demolished

April 6, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
City to have Blighted Building Demolished
City to assist with Sidewalk Project at downtown Park

An old building downtown will soon be coming down.

The Smithville Aldermen Monday night voted to take advantage of a Neighborhood Stabilization Program through the Tennessee Housing Development Agency which provides funds to cities and counties wanting to demolish blighted properties.

Mayor Taft Hendrixson says the city owned building, located across the street from city hall on the north side, qualifies for the program."I was approached by the Upper Cumberland Development District. They have some THDA funds, which in turn is HUD money for blighted areas and blighted buildings. I was approached about our white building over here. I took the liberty to make sure it (building) wasn't on an Historical site and it's not. It (building) was probably erected sometime in the 1920's. The only thing we're using that for is (storing) a bunch of old stuff that probably needs to be thrown away anyway. We also have in there trash cans for the Jamboree and there's an impound lot over there (behind the building) for the seized vehicles. They will remove this building. I don't know if they'll pave it (property) but they will at least sow it down. The city cannot sell or lease it (property) for a period of time depending upon the (demolition) costs of the building. I'm assuming that the city would not want to sell it anyway. If we want to get rid of it (building) it's a good deal for the city"

Once the building is removed, the property may be used for any city purpose, but under terms of the program, the property cannot be sold or leased for private purposes for a period of time, otherwise the city would have to refund all or a portion of the funds used to demolish the building..

In other business, the aldermen awarded the hay contract at the airport to V & V Farms for $551 per year for two years. V&V Farms will cut hay off the city property at the airport.

In other business, the owners of a small park, located across the street from the post office behind city hall are planning to put in sidewalks there and want the city to pour the concrete. Once the development is complete, the family plans to donate the park to the city. William Kooienga, speaking on behalf of the park owners, addressed the city council Monday night to make the formal request of the mayor and aldermen. "I've volunteered my time to design and develop the park for the Evins sisters (daughters of the late Joe L. Evins) and I would like to note that the plan is to donate that land to the city as soon as we get it presentable in a way that nothing else has to be done to it. We're hoping to put a sidewalk in. We're proposing a sidewalk (on the property) across the street from the post office and on the side (property) across from the fire hall which currently do not have sidewalks. There is a sidewalk by Highway 56 and a sidewalk on this street (Don Cantrell Way). We'll put in the forms (for the sidewalks), do all the digging and soil moving if the city will just provide the concrete and pour it.'

The aldermen approved the request.

Vinca Indicted for Aggravated Sexual Battery of a Child

April 5, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
 James Vinca

A 42 year old Smithville man has been indicted on a charge of aggravated sexual battery.

James Aaron Vinca of East Main Street is accused of having sexual contact with a four year old child.
Vinca was charged with the offense on August 18th, 2009. The case went before the DeKalb County Grand Jury on Monday.
Sheriff Patrick Ray said at the time of Vinca's arrest that in mid July, 2009 Vinca was accused of having unlawful sexual contact with the child at his residence. The child is a member of his family.
Vinca was one of thirty two people who were indicted on various charges Monday. All are to appear in DeKalb County Criminal Court for arraignment next Monday, April 12th.

Others indicted and their charges are as follows:

Trinity J. Anderson- aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, and vandalism under $500

Roy Douglas Atnip- theft under $500 & public intoxication

Berna Dean Barnes- possession of paraphernalia and driving under the influence

Jessica Barrett- theft over $1,000 and promoting the manufacture of methamphetamine

Dawn Beavers- theft over $10,000

Anthony W. Cantrell- driving under the influence

Virginia Carrier- aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Flint Wilson Gilley, II- driving under the influence (2 charges), possession of a schedule IV (3 charges), possession of a schedule III controlled substance, and speeding

Joe Ray Hall- driving under the influence

Silvia Hawkins- driving under the influence, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, violation of the financial responsibility law, failure to maintain proper lane of travel, and violation of the implied consent law

Karri Jewell- theft over $500

Amy J. Lawson- aggravated burglary & theft over $500

Justin Lohorn- vandalism over $1,000, theft under $500, driving on a suspended license, and vandalism under $500

Samuel McClure, Jr.- burglary and theft under $500 (2 counts)

Heather Perkins- tampering with evidence, possession of a schedule VI controlled substance for resale and possession of a schedule II and schedule IV controlled substance

Travis Rich- aggravated burglary, theft over $10,000, and vandalism over $10,000

Martin Riley &
Timothy Riley- aggravated burglary (2 charges), theft under $500, vandalism under $500, theft over $1,000

Martin Riley- aggravated burglary (2 charges) and theft over $1,000 (3 charges), theft over $500

Derrick Reeder- driving on a revoked license (5th offense)

Mark Robinson- possession of drug paraphernalia

Raymond Rollins- driving on suspended license

Daniel Sanchez- leaving the scene of an accident, driving with no drivers license, and failure to
yield

Thomas Sims- aggravated burglary and theft over $1,000

Charles Wayne Smithson- driving under the influence (2 charges), resisting arrest, reckless driving, possession of a weapon while under the influence, violation of the open container law, and violation of the implied consent law

Steve Stanley- burglary, theft over $500 (2 charges)

Freddy Stringer, Jr.- driving on a revoked license (4th offense)

Melodie Stussee- tampering with evidence, possession of a schedule II controlled substance, assault, and resisting arrest

Eddie Lynn Taylor- driving under the influence (4th offense) and violation of the open container law

Travis Clint Tramel- driving under the influence, failing to maintain proper lane of travel, and violation of the implied consent law

James Vinca- aggravated sexual battery

Jimmy Walker- driving under the influence and violation of the implied consent law

Felicia Walz- driving under the influence and driving on a suspended license

Woman Arrested on Drug Charges during Traffic Stop

April 5, 2010
by: 
Dwayne Page
Lindsay Lee Stribling
Amanda Kate Covington
Mark Fish,Jr.
Shelia Curtis-

The DeKalb County Sheriff's Department made a traffic stop on Thursday and arrested a woman on drug charges.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says 27 year old Lindsay Lee Stribling of Felts Road Sparta was charged April 1st with possession of a schedule II drug (Methamphetamine) and possession of drug paraphernalia. Her bond was set at $5,000 and she will appear in court on April 22nd. Sheriff Ray says a deputy stopped a vehicle on Highway 70 East for weaving and asked the driver for consent to search. The officer noticed Stribling trying to tuck something in her waist line area. A female correctional officer conducted a search of Stribling's person and found a black bag that contained two small baggies of a white powdery substance believed to be Methamphetamine, a cut straw, and 4 hypodermic needles.

25 year old Amanda Kate Covington of Towles Avenue, McMinnville was arrested on Sunday, April 4th after deputies responded to a domestic violence call on Cripps Lane. After arrival, officers met Covington who was belligerent and throwing items from a vehicle that was at the residence. After being asked several times to calm down, Covington refused. She was placed under arrest for disorderly conduct. Found in Covington's purse were 4 white pills in a cellophane wrapper that are believed to be Xanax. Covington was charged with disorderly conduct and possession of a schedule IV drug Xanax. Her bond was set at $3,000 and she will appear in court on April 29th..

23 year old Mark Fish Jr. of Bell Street Smithville was arrested on Sunday, March 28th for leaving the scene of an accident. His bond was set at $2,500 and he will appear in court on April 22nd. Deputies were dispatched to an automobile accident on Capshaw Road. Sheriff Ray says Fish was allegedly in his vehicle chasing someone in another vehicle when the accident occurred. The victim stated that Fish passed and then hit their automobile and left the scene. Fish was later found and arrested.

47 year old Shelia Curtis of Richland Road, Murfreesboro was arrested on Tuesday, March 30th for theft of property under $500. On January 15th while Curtis was at the DeKalb County Jail trying to bond a friend out of Jail she stole a correctional officer's jacket, which was hanging on the back of an office chair in the front lobby. Curtis admitted to the theft. The jacket and belongings in the jacket were valued at $140. Bond for Curtis was set at $2,500.

Weekend Fire Causes Damage to Double Wide Mobile Home

April 5, 2010

A midnight fire caused some damage to the home of Wesley and Gail Becker at 138 Delong Road Saturday night/Sunday morning.

County Fire Chief Donny Green says passers-by saw heavy smoke coming from the double wide mobile home and alerted DeKalb 911 around midnight. Because there were two vehicles parked in the driveway, they feared people could be inside and attempted to enter the home to wake up occupants. Unable to enter because of heavy smoke and extreme heat, they used a garden hose to attempt to control the fire until firefighters arrived.

Shortly after arrival, firefighters were able to make entry and quickly extinguished the fire in a back bedroom. Firefighters performed a search of the residence and determined that no one was at home. This was confirmed after a family member informed the fire department that the couple was out of town. The couple's 5 year old child was staying with a family member during this time.

Firefighters were successful in containing the fire to the bedroom, but smoke and heat damaged the remainder of the home. Firefighters from the Keltonburg, Belk, Blue Springs, Short Mountain, Cookeville Highway, Midway, and Main Station responded to the scene and were assisted by the DeKalb County EMS and Sheriff's Department.

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