Local News Articles

More Suites and Chapel Included in New Addition to Webb House Retirement Center

July 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Lora Webb with Construction Workers at Webb House
Construction Worker Pouring Concrete for Sidewalk

Construction is progressing on the new addition to the Webb House Retirement Center in Smithville and the work should be finished within a few weeks.

Lora Webb says the new 8,000 to 9,000 square foot addition will include more new suites and a chapel, among other amenities. "Right now the Webb House (addition) is about 75% finished with construction. We are finalizing some painting and getting ready to put floor covering in and cabinetry. We're just really excited about it."

"We're going to have a lot more space to do activities and exercise. The residents are going to love this new area we have to play cards in. It's just a quiet little nook."

"The thing we are most thankful for and excited about is our chapel. It can hold probably 50 to 60 people and it is like none other. It just gives us cold chills to take the residents there and give them a little tour of it right now and just to visualize the usage that the residents are going to get out of this area. It's going to be a real special amenity to our home."

"The buildings are tied together and the new one looks just like the existing building. We have nine new rooms. We don't want to get too big that we lose the home feeling. We have four different style suites including our studio and alcove one bedroom apartments. We also have a new room. It's a companion room. It gives people a price break. In this companion room, they'll have a roommate. They will have a lot of private space but they share the living space."

"We've moved our laundry room. The kitchen needed to expand so we are expanding the kitchen and moving the laundry room. We have a new storage room. We have a couple of new offices, another public restroom, and we've increased our walking track outside which is really nice."

"We're looking for a huge grand opening probably in early fall."

"We just invite people to come out. It's pretty much at the stage now where you can see where we're going with this. This next month is really going to wrap up things."

The addition is being built by Brindley Construction Company of Pulaski. Concrete work is being done by Bimp's Concrete and Construction.

DeKalb County Schools Re-Open August 2nd

July 16, 2010
Dwayne Page

DeKalb County Schools will re-open in August

Registration for all students will be Monday, August 2nd. That will be an abbreviated school day from 7:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Registration for students new to DeKalb County grades 9-12 will be July 19 & 20 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at DeKalb County High School. Please bring the following with you: Proof of Residence, Birth Certificate, Immunization Record, and any school Records. For more information, please call 597-2249.

The Fifth Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Monday, August 2nd from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square. For more information, contact Michelle Burklow at 597-4084

Thursday, August 5th will be an administrative day at all schools and all teachers must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

The first full day of school for all students will be Tuesday, August 3rd. Wednesday, August 4th will also be a full day of school.

DeKalb County will host the first teacher in-service for the 2010-11 school year on Thursday, July 22nd at the First Baptist Life Enrichment Center on Church Street. Registration will be from 7:30 a.m. until 7:55 a.m. with Kimberly Carraway beginning the day speaking on the topic "Applying Brain Research to the Classroom" at 8:00 a.m.

A system wide professional development day will be Monday, July 26th at DCHS and all teachers from all schools must attend from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

All teachers will report to DCHS from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, July 27th . All teachers will then report to their individual schools Tuesday, July 27th from noon until 3:00 p.m. and Wednesday and Thursday, July 28th & 29th from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Registration for students eligible for 21st Century Community Learning Centers After School program will be held at DeKalb West School, DeKalb Middle School and DeKalb County High School on Monday, August 2nd during school wide registration.

Students eligible to attend will be presented a packet of materials including registration forms that must be returned on Tuesday, August 3rd with all information completed.

21st Century Community Learning Centers After School Program will begin on Monday, August 9th from 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Programs are designed to meet local and state performance standards in core academic subjects including math, reading/literacy, and science. Art, music and drama activities along with field trips will be included. The program is free with transportation provided.

Registration for the voluntary pre-kindergarten program in the DeKalb County School system will be conducted on Monday, August 2nd at Smithville Elementary School and DeKalb West School.

Children may be registered that day from 7:45 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.

Clay Farler, Director of the Pre-K program and Attendance Supervisor, says state funding provides for a total of four pre-k classes at Smithville Elementary School and one class at DeKalb West School.

Farler says eligible children must be four years of age by September 30th and their parents must meet the federal income guidelines. "Parents should bring their four year old child to registration along with the youngster's birth certificate, record of a physical examination within the last year, and the child's immunization record.

Early Voting for August Elections Begins Today (Friday)

July 16, 2010
Dwayne Page
Dennis Stanley

Beginning Friday, July 16, registered voters will have the opportunity to cast their ballots for the August 5 state primary and county general elections.

Dennis Stanley, Administrator of Elections for DeKalb County, is encouraging voters to take advantage of early voting.

“Local voters have come to enjoy the benefits and convenience of voting early,” Administrator Stanley said. “Voters can vote at their convenience and not worry about rushing to the polls on Election Day.”

“In November 2008, approximately 58 percent of the registered voters who voted in the election in Tennessee took advantage of early voting,” Secretary of State Tre Hargett said. “I expect a significant number of voters to vote early this election as well.”

Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins will be kicking off the first day of early voting by casting his own ballot.
“Early voting is convenient and has become very popular in Tennessee,” Coordinator Goins said. “I know I will be busy on Election Day, so voting early ensures my vote will be cast within my schedule. It just makes sense to vote at a time convenient to me.”

For people who cannot or would prefer not to vote on Election Day, early voting provides an additional 14-day period to cast ballots, including three Saturdays this election year. Voters may vote in their county general elections, as well as the state primary elections. Voters choosing to vote in the state primaries will select either the Republican or Democrat ballot.

DeKalb County will be conducting early voting at the DeKalb County Courthouse. The hours for early voting will be 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and 2:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. on Thursday. Early voting ends Saturday, July 31.

The DeKalb County General Election features only one county-wide contested race, two contested district county commission races, and three contested district races for the school board.

Incumbent Republican Road Supervisor Kenny Edge will face Democratic challenger James D. Sprague.

The contested county commission races are in the fifth and seventh districts.

Candidates in the fifth district are Republican Jerry Adcock, Democratic incumbent John Green, Democrat Bobby Taylor, and Independent candidate Lloyd Emmons. Two will be elected.

In the seventh district, the candidates are Democratic candidate Jimmy Poss, Democratic incumbent Larry Summers, and Independent candidate Richard Kinsey. Two will be elected.

The second, third, and fourth district school board races are also contested.

In the second district, Incumbent Charles L. Robinson faces a challenge from Jerry W. Johnson. Johnathan Willoughby will try to unseat Incumbent Kenny Rhody in the third district while in the fourth district, the candidates are Billy S. Miller and Larry Redmon.

School board candidates do not run as Republicans or Democrats, but as Independents.

Meanwhile, the following candidates on the DeKalb County General Election ballot are unopposed:

Circuit Court Judge Part 1: Amy V. Hollars.

District Attorney General: Randall A. York

County Mayor: Mike Foster

Trustee: Sean Driver

Sheriff: Patrick Ray

Circuit Court Clerk: Katherine Pack

County Clerk: Mike Clayborn

Register of Deeds: Jeff McMillen

County Commission (1st district):
Mason Carter
Elmer Ellis, Jr.

County Commission (2nd district)
Bobby Joines
Jack E, Barton, III

County Commission (3rd district)
Bradley Hendrix
Jerry Scott

County Commission (4th district)
Wayne Cantrell
David McDowell

County Commission (6th district)
Jeff Barnes
Marshall Ferrell

School Board Member (1st district)
John D. Foutch

School Board Member (7th district)
Johnny Lattimore

The general election ballot also includes two Judicial Retention Questions, asking whether Sharon Gail Lee shall be retained or replaced in the office as a Judge of the Tennessee Supreme Court; and whether John W. McClarty shall be retained or replaced in the office as a Judge of the Tennessee Court of Appeals, Eastern Division.

Meanwhile, the three incumbent aldermen in the City of Dowelltown will be unopposed for re-election, Bradley Driver, Keith Farler, and Ronald Griffith.

Candidates for Governor in the Tennessee Republican Primary include Bill Haslam, Joe Kirkpatrick, Basil Marceaux, Sr., Ron Ramsey, and Zach Wamp.

Republican candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District are Diane Black, Dave Evans, Gary Dewitt Mann, Bruce McLellan, Kerry E. Roberts, Jim Tracy, and Lou Ann Zelnik

Republican candidates for the Tennessee Senate in the 17th District are Incumbent Mae Beavers and challengers Gordon Borck, and Susan M. Lynn

Republican candidate for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th District is Incumbent Terry Lynn Weaver.

Republican State Executive Committeeman 17th district candidates are C. Brent Baldwin, Albert B. McCall, Sr. and Bob Ousley. One can be nominated.

Republican State Executive Committeewoman 17th district, Susan C. Witcher.

Meanwhile Mike McWherter is the only candidate for Governor in the Tennessee Democratic Primary.

Democratic candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in the 6th Congressional District are Henry Clay Barry, Devora E. Butler, Brett Carter, George T. Erdel, and Ben Leming

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee Senate in the 17th District are Aubrey T. Givens, Sam Hatcher, and George McDonald

Democratic candidates for the Tennessee House of Representatives in the 40th District are James C. Hale and Jamie Winkler.

David R. Harper is the only Democratic candidate for State Executive Committeeman in the 17th District.

Two Democratic candidates, Mary A. Patterson and Baylor Bone Swindell are seeking the position of State Executive Committeewoman in the 17th District.

Aldermen Propose Setting Aside Funds to Buy a Ladder Truck for City Fire Department

July 15, 2010
Dwayne Page
Charlie Parker

Smithville aldermen have penciled in more spending in the proposed new budget and plan to set aside $400,000 from the general fund surplus to go toward the purchase of a ladder truck for the city volunteer fire department.

None of the proposed new expenditures would require an increase in the city property tax rate but it would reduce the size of the general fund surplus and that is something that Mayor Taft Hendrixson is not happy about.

The mayor and aldermen met in a workshop session Tuesday evening to review the proposed budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year which has not yet been adopted and to consider budget requests from department heads.

Fire Chief Charlie Parker, among other requests, renewed his appeal for a ladder truck, something members of the fire department have long wanted and say the city needs. Parker says the department would like to have a new ladder truck, but that could cost as much as $900,000 so, he says, if the city could find a good used truck, that would be okay too.

Alderman Steve White, who proposed putting aside the $400,000 for the truck, said while the general fund surplus would be impacted, it would by no means be depleted. "It's not like we're spending all of our reserve. We will still have, I think somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.8 or $2.9 million in the general fund (surplus) after everything comes out that should be in this budget. The main thing is the safety of our residents and our firefighters and the protection of their properties."

White adds that he is convinced the city needs a ladder truck. "I feel like that we've really needed the ladder truck for quite a few years. The Moog disaster is one big example in my opinion. The City of Smithville and DeKalb County lost a factory with probably 250 employees and on the other side of it is safety. The ladder truck is going to pump a lot more water and the firefighters will be able to put the water where it definitely needs to be. Of course time is of essence in a fire and getting the water where it needs to be and as much water as possible is the big thing there."

" It ($400,000) won't buy a new truck and it may not buy a real good used truck but I think that with Charlie and with Wink, one of the firefighters that we have, I think that they should be able to find a real good used truck that's still in good shape that would still last us for probably twelve or fifteen years down the road. If things change and we can't find one, then we can let that (fund) grow and then go from there. I think that the market right now, especially with times being tough, that there will be some good deals out there and we will be able to find a real good truck for that."

Aaron Meeks, alderman and police and fire commissioner, says he too supports the proposal to set aside funds for a ladder truck. "It's something they have had on their wish list, I guess for some period of time. It is more or less a set aside (fund) toward the purchase of a vehicle. If a good used vehicle for that price could be found, then we could proceed with purchasing it. This is a procedure we have used in the past. It is the procedure we used to build the new fire hall. It is something that, relying upon our fire chief, is needed and I think he is a very reliable person. I know a lot of people say we don't have enough three story buildings. But you have most all of the downtown stores and businesses that our fire department cannot reach with the equipment that they currently have and if a major fire broke out in the downtown area we could lose a whole city block or more without equipment to fight it. Of course we all remember the problem at Moog without the proper equipment to fight that (fire) so we also have the factories that should be taken into consideration when we think about a ladder truck."

Some may brand these aldermen as "big spenders" by making such a proposal, but Alderman Meeks says he doesn't see it that way. "The four other members and myself on that board, I would consider very conservative when it comes to spending money. But when there are needs that may have been delayed and postponed and that we recognize these are legitimate needs of the community, I think all of us step up and address that and we certainly are not big spenders, I think our records will indicate that's the case. But there comes a time when you can postpone and postpone and postpone and sometimes that costs you twice as much as it would have cost you had you done it in a timely fashion."

Fire Chief Parker says a ladder truck would aid the department in fighting fires at two and three story buildings, and help in maintaining and possibly improving the city's ISO insurance rating. "In the ISO grading system a couple of years ago, they looked at our city, the buildings, the way we answer calls, the hydrant system, they analyzed all of that and this ISO is what all the citizens of Smithville's insurance rating is based on inevitably. The lower the ISO or insurance rating, the cheaper your insurance is going to be. So we really try to cater to this ISO rating."

"One of their recommendations was for us to have a ladder truck. It will help give us some points to lower our rating. Of course, the first thing everybody starts to say, when they think about a ladder truck, is that we don't have but one three story building so why do we need a ladder truck? It is for reaching up to second and third floor buildings and structures. What a lot of people don't think about is the downtown area where we have the Bicentennial building, which is a three story on the front and a four story in the back. But there's no way we could get to it at all if it was on fire. We barely could ladder the courthouse. The Studio Six fire we had downtown, we had to call Smithville Electric (for a bucket truck) before we could get on top of that building. That's only a two story building but the way the facades are around the building, and where Garrett Insurance is located, there's no way we could get on top of those buildings. If we get a fire in those buildings or on the roof of them, there's not a thing we can do about it. It's pretty much going to go, the whole city block. We've been lucky. We've had a couple of fires in the downtown district before. They (buildings) are very unstable about trying to put ground ladders on, even those low to the ground. The fire walls in them are very shaky and it's very, very risky for firefighters to be on a ladder through there so they need a device where they wouldn't have to be on the building or against the building in case it fell."

"McMinnville purchased a ladder truck a few years ago and two years ago they had a fire in their downtown district. One of their captains was quoted that if they had not had that ladder truck at the time of the fire in McMinnville they would have lost a whole city block. They credit saving the block to having that ladder truck on site with early detection and they got in there and made a really good stop at it. He said if they hadn't had that aerial device they wouldn't have been able to stop it."

"Ladder trucks, probably half of their use is on one and two story structures anyway. When you look at other fire departments around the country, they use them on single story dwellings, getting up in the roof and attic area so they can do that safely. They don't have to be on the building or on the roof where you could have a collapse and the firefighter goes through. They use them on one and two story buildings all the time. So it's not just for three story buildings. We do have several buildings that are classified as three story because the way ISO grades them is where the eave height would be even thirty feet. So some of these buildings, when you get thirty feet up to try to get a ladder on top of them it's pretty dangerous. There's a good part of it that's firefighter safety too".

"Another aspect is the fire flow that's needed for the factories we have. That's part of the ISO equation. When they look at how much water we can actually flow to a big fire like we had at Moog. A ladder truck typically has a bigger pump. It can flow more water and that actually helps our flow rating for some of these bigger factories, big structures, and cabinet shops. The amount of materials they have in them that will burn and combust takes a certain amount of water flow and right now we're not even coming close to meeting some of those if we had a full out fire. So this helps to meet some of the water flow."

"This is not a vehicle we're going to use every day. It's a secondary or standby vehicle. We'll use it when we have bigger structure fires. We know and understand it's not going to be one that's used day in and day out. But it is one of those pieces of equipment that when you need it, you need it now and you really don't have time to wait. Time is of the essence in the fire business. We need to be there quick."

Chief Parker adds that if the city can't afford a new ladder truck, he believes $400,000 would be enough to buy a good used truck. "We've been looking at ladder trucks for the last several years. We've watched the prices rise from $600,000 to $700,000, to $800,000 and with all the new safety things that go on them, emission controls, and more, it just keeps going up. We would love to have a new truck, but we know it's not something that's going to be used all the time. Larger departments often trade them in for newer models so we can get one (used) that would still serve us perfectly fine in that price range ($400,000)."

The aldermen penciled in another $13,000 to the fire department budget, not as an increase per fire call, but to supplement firefighters for work, such as testing hoses and hydrants, etc.

$20,000 will be included as a capital outlay expense for an air compressor to support the firefighters breathing packs

The department will be budgeted a $4,000 uniform allowance

Plans are also to purchase a vehicle, possibly a pickup truck as a capital outlay expense, to transport firefighters to training or to run errands for the department so that they don't have to use the other emergency vehicles or their own automobiles.

The mayor and aldermen may consider first reading passage of the new budget Monday night, July 19th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

City Fathers Advised to Hike Water and Sewer Rates

July 14, 2010
Dwayne Page

The City of Smithville hasn't increased sewer rates in several years and water rates haven't been adjusted since 1998, but a rate hike may be coming soon for city water and sewer subscribers with the passage of the proposed budget for 2010-11.

During a workshop meeting Tuesday evening, Janice Plemmons-Jackson, the city's financial consultant reminded the mayor and aldermen that the water and sewer fund is currently in the "red" and she warned that if this continues for more than two years, the state could step in and force a rate hike sufficient to make the operation financially self supporting.

Jackson said according to the proposed new budget, the city's water and sewer fund was projected to finish the year on June 30th, 2010 in the red by $306,464 but actual hard numbers, when finalized, may be somewhat less. "Originally in the budget for 2010, we projected a possible $415,000 loss. In revisions we have lowered expenses somewhat and we have revised the budget to show a $306,000 loss. In looking at numbers right now which have not been finalized, I can tell you there will definitely be a loss for the 2010 year. Hard numbers. It's in the red over $100,000 and I'm not sure where the numbers are going to end up but you are in the red. So for 2010 you definitely had a loss."

According to Jackson, even with the proposed rate increases, the water and sewer fund might actually end next fiscal year June 30th, 2011 in the ‘red" again. "With the proposed rate increases that we have, I'm still projecting that you may have a loss. We try to look at what you've spent before and factor in some inflation. Sometimes we don't know what insurance increases are going to be or the electricity costs so we try to have a little room in there for more. But we're proposing a $155,000 loss in 2011 with these rate increases. We're not giving you a huge overage but you're getting at least to a better point. When you go for ten or twelve years and don't do any increases you can't just do a nickel raise and say ‘oh we've fixed the problem'. What concerns me is the fact that 2010 does have a loss and 2011 with these rate increases may have a loss where the state could possibly come in that third year and say, if you've lost money two years in a row we're going to set your rates for you. By implementing some rate increases now I think you're getting yourself headed in the right direction."

According to the current water and sewer rates, a customer with a minimum monthly bill pays $7.12 plus tax. Under the new rates, the same customer with a minimum monthly bill would pay $10.00 plus tax.

If a customer uses 4,000 gallons per month, he now pays $30.60 plus tax. Under the new rates, the same customer using 4,000 gallons per month would pay $40.00 plus tax.

Specifically, 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 $1.50 increase from the current rate of $3.50 to $5.00 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage. Outside city rates would increase to $7.50 for the first one thousand gallons of water usage plus $7.50 for each additional one thousand gallons of usage

The rate for city sewer customers, under the new budget, would increase from the current level of $3.62 for a flat usage rate to $5.00 for the first one thousand gallons of usage plus a $1.75 cent increase from the current rate of $3.25 to $5.00 per thousand gallons thereafter.

The rate the city charges the DeKalb Utility District for water is $1.90 per thousand gallons but would increase to $1.95 beginning with January 1st, 2011 sales.

Water tap fees for customers inside the city limits would jump from $400 to $600 for a three quarter inch water line and the sewer tap fee would go from $400 to $600 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

For customers outside the city limits, water tap fees would increase from $525 to $800 for a three quarter inch line. Fees would go from $525 to $800 for a four inch sewer line. If the lines are larger, then the fees will continue to be cost plus 10%.

The mayor and aldermen may consider first reading passage of the new budget Monday night, July 19th at 7:00 p.m. at city hall.

Fire Leaves DeKalb County Family Homeless

July 14, 2010
Dwayne Page
County Firefighters Work to Extinguish Blaze at Tucker Residence

A fire Wednesday morning left a DeKalb County family homeless.

The blaze, reported to 911 at 8:30 a.m., destroyed the home of Brandon and Violet Tucker at 3126 Banks Pisgah Road

According to Lieutenant Anthony Boyd, the residence, made up of two single wide mobile homes converted into a double wide, caught fire as the Tuckers were in the living room. After smelling plastic burning, the Tuckers went to investigate and found a bedroom on fire.

The Tuckers and their children, ages 5 and 2, escaped unharmed. Ms. Tucker later had to be treated for smoke inhalation and a panic attack. She was transported by EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital.

The cause of the fire is undetermined.

Members of the Keltonburg and Short Mountain Highway Stations of the DeKalb County Volunteer Fire Department responded along with the Main Station and Tanker truck #1. The Members of the North Warren Fire Department also gave mutual aid manpower support. DeKalb EMS and the Sheriff's Department were also on the scene.

LIHEAP Applications Available

July 14, 2010

"Low income households may be eligible to receive between $300 and $600 through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) toward their electric, natural gas, propane gas, kerosene, wood or coal costs," announced Phyllis Bennett, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency (UCHRA) Executive Director.

UCHRA administers federally funded LIHEAP in fourteen counties of the Upper Cumberland including Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren and White Counties.

Applicants for LIHEAP assistance must be at or below 200 percent poverty level and must provide proof of all household income and Social Security Numbers. Even individuals receiving benefit checks such as VA, SSI or Social Security will need to submit verification of their award amounts. Applicants must also submit a copy of an electric bill and/or a bill for natural gas, propane gas, kerosene, wood or coal purchases. Sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Human Services, LIHEAP provides assistance regardless of age, race, creed, national origin, handicap or sex. Minorities are encouraged to apply.

Applications are available beginning July 1st year round throughout the program year. No client will be denied an opportunity to fill out an application. Energy assistance awards are based on a priority point system and are not "first come, first serve". Individuals requiring assistance with completing applications may contact their local UCHRA office.

Interested individuals may apply at the DeKalb County UCHRA Office, 527 West Main Street, Smithville (615-597-4504) between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Justin Potter Library to Receive $1,525 Technology Grant

July 14, 2010

Justin Potter Library in DeKalb County is receiving grant funds this year to purchase computers and other technology-related equipment.

Justin Potter Library will receive $1,525. A total of 88 libraries in 64 Tennessee counties will receive grant funds through the program.

The grant funds will allow libraries statewide to buy a total of approximately 230 personal computers, 36 laptops, 36 wireless networking stations, 15 general software packages and various other items such as printers, scanners, monitors and external storage drives.

“Particularly during tough economic times, it is important that our public libraries have the resources citizens need,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “In many communities across our state, particularly in rural areas, public libraries are the only free source of Internet access people have. And without Internet access, it is more difficult for people to file for unemployment benefits, conduct job searches or become more competitive in the workforce by learning new skills through online training programs.”

“I am pleased that Justin Potter Library is receiving funding to purchase much needed equipment through this program,” Rep. Terri Lynn Weaver said. “It is very important that we continue to provide our local libraries with the support they need to offer excellent services to our citizens.”

“Our world is becoming increasingly technology-oriented,” Sen. Mae Beavers said. “Having access to a computer is fast becoming a necessity, not a luxury. So I am glad these grants will help make more computers available for public use.”

Staff members at the Tennessee State Library and Archives, which is a division within the Secretary of State’s office, provide advice and assistance to help library officials prepare their grant proposals, including suggestions about what type of equipment to include in their request. Also, network services coordinators with the State Library and Archives help libraries install the equipment after it has been purchased.

The grants, which total $200,500 statewide, are provided by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services through the federal Library and Technology Services Act. The grants are administered by the State Library and Archives. From 2004 through 2009, funding provided by the act has paid for the purchase of 1,220 computers for Tennessee libraries.

In order to qualify for funding, libraries are required to provide money from other sources that at least matches the amounts of their grant requests.

Four Courthouse Offices Could be Re-Located to Shopping Center Building by Spring

July 13, 2010
Dwayne Page
Town and Country Shopping Center
Mike Foster

By this time next year, you may be doing business with some of your courthouse public officials at the Town and Country Shopping Center location.

The county commission has not yet made it official, but County Mayor Mike Foster says it appears more likely that at least four of the offices in the courthouse will be moving, possibly by next spring. "I would think we are looking at probably sometime next spring. The way it looks, it would probably be Trustee, Register of Deeds, County Clerk, and Property Assessor. At least those offices. There's still some discussion about the election commission and my office (County Mayor). One of those two offices probably will go (to the shopping center). That way the rest of the courthouse will be opened up for space that everybody needs for the courts and some storage too."

One of the officials, probably the county clerk, is expected to have his own drive through window at the shopping center location to better serve the public.

J & S Construction is currently conducting a "Job Summary" at the old shopping center complex but so far no company has been selected by the county commission to do the actual renovation construction, although several architects have submitted plans for the design and layout of the facility.

Foster says the final plans will include space for a variety of purposes. "We've got five architects that have submitted plans. They have submitted what they have done for free and they (county commission) will pick whoever they want for that. The layout we're doing is preliminary just to make sure everything fits in to account for space. In it (layout) right now is an auditorium with a stage to seat about 250 people, which could be used for performing arts, meetings or whatever. There's an exercise weight room, a game room, and for lack of a better word there's like a semi-gymnasium type area of about 4,500 square feet that could be used for kids to do whatever they want to do. It would probably have a basketball goal and things for recreation but it won't be like a full gym. The senior citizens center would be next to that (gym) and next to a museum. There's capacity for about six rooms for Motlow State Community College to have night classes and there will be a center in there for computer literacy to help industries and where, if they're having training, they can come over there and use those. We'll also have the two rental spaces and the county (public officials) offices. They're all (offices) pretty much the same size and we'll have an archives storage area in there of about 1,600 to 1,700 square feet. Right now, the plans are to have a drive through window on the south end there which will be part of where the Pizza Inn was. There's also a space in the back at one of the loading docks for the Second Harvest Food Bank that hopefully the churches are going to see to like the Methodist Church here does. They have a really good ministry through the Second Harvest Food Bank and we want to give them that space in there to continue that. All the churches contribute but the Methodist church here initiated it. They do have a lot of input from other churches and organizations. These are things that are still in the plans as of today. It's just a matter of getting them all situated and laid out to where they all fit in. We're trying to make sure that the space is there to do all these things."

Once J & H Construction completes it's "Job Summary" then bids can be prepared and let for the renovation/ construction work. Foster says he is hopeful that bids can be let by late summer or early fall. Foster adds that the actual construction costs are unknown right now but the county is applying for as many grants as possible to help fund it. "We have applied for a Rural Development grant for the recreation part for $200,000 and we're applying for another $200,000 parks and recreation grant. We're trying to work those in there. We've already received $15,000 for the aging. We're trying to get as many grants as possible."

"We meet with J & S Construction each Thursday to go over what they've done for that week. They are evaluating the roof system. We already had some roofing companies to do that and some engineer companies to do other things on a smaller scale. But they (J & S) are updating the roof situation and checking all the electrical. They're running cameras up the sewer lines and checking the sprinkler systems. Its sort of a summary of what we've got and they're making a proposal of what we should do. Then invitations will be issued for companies and individuals to bid on those specific things."

"It depends upon how quickly we can do it, but from what I'm hearing and what I'm thinking, maybe the roof (project) will be done in one section (bid letting), then the front might be done in another section, and then the building would be let in maybe three sections so that more people could have a chance to bid on it. We would like to have local bidders if we can because it would create some local jobs. That's the way we'll try to do that. Hopefully it will turn out that way. It just depends upon the overall scope of everything because some of the bigger companies, if they did the entire thing, would be the only ones capable of doing it. So we're hoping we'll be letting in three or four sections."

"And then we've got to do the central air and heat zoning and figure out exactly what use is going to be put to that particular central air and heat unit that's on top. We know three of the units are not good out there but we think the other nine units are good according to the engineers. So once we get the zoning to fit with the layout of the property, then we'll get that done and then get the roof done and then start doing the layouts. The interior will include some sheet rock walls, drop ceilings, and it'll either be tile floors or some of it could be carpet that is installed in squares, which if (a certain section) is stained, you can pop it out and put another one in. It (facility) won't be extravagant but it will be functional and durable and built for low maintenance."

Foster says he also learned last week that the county has received another grant to help develop the new farmer's market location on the north side of the shopping center facing East Bryant Street and work on that should be completed by September. "We got the environmentals done on it about six weeks ago and we were waiting to hear from another grant. We applied for a USDA Rural Development Grant for $50,000 which we got. We also applied for a Tennessee Department of Agriculture Enhancement Grant and we found out Wednesday that we got it, which is for $30,000. That's why we were waiting (to do the project). But we've got the contracts and they have been signed and sent back in. We also did a little modification to the building and if everything goes well, we'll be advertising that bid probably next week. Construction on that should begin right away. According to our contracts and grants we have to have that done by September. We have done the environmentals and the traffic flow pattern. It will have a bathroom, a wash area, refrigerated area with storage, a display area, tables, and it'll all be handicapped accessible."

Last October, the county commission voted to purchase the 62,000 square foot Town and Country Shopping Center complex. The property covers 5.21 acres and includes a large paved parking lot.

The purchase price for the shopping center was approximately $750,000.

"The Fun Begins in 2010" with Return of the DeKalb County Fair

July 12, 2010
Dwayne Page

Members of the DeKalb County Fair Association are busy preparing for this year's edition of the Grandpa Fair of the South, which is set for Monday through Saturday July 19th through July 24th.

With the theme " The Fun Begins in 2010", this year's DeKalb County Fair will feature a fun filled week of activities including all new rides by the Family Attractions Amusement Company and two nights of the Super Truck and Tractor Pull on Friday and Saturday nights.

Fair Manager Jeff McMillen says the fair will be bringing back the Off-Road Challenge, Open Rodeo, the Demolition Derby, and Super Tractor and Truck Pull, Go Kart Racing, Four Wheelers and Motorcycle Racing, DeKalb Idol, the Vintage Fashion Show, and many other popular attractions. "We have nearly the same events that we had last year but the carnival people (Family Attractions Amusement) will have all new rides. They're trying to bring new things to towns that they have been in for a while."

"The Off- Road Challenge will be adding a speed course. Instead of it being a boring type five minute "can you get across the log" type thing, it's going to be more of a time type (speed course) event. These vehicles need to be pre-registered. The cost is twenty five dollars to pre-register or forty five dollars if you register the day of the event."

"We'll have Go-Cart racing. This year with our competition carts, which is the fast carts, they have started a points system and they do about four or five fairs. The Lebanon fair is the championship series of this challenge so if they (participants) want to be involved in the points and win money at the end of the year, they have to come to these fairs and race so we should have more participation in that class than we have had in the past."

"This year on the tractor pull, we're going to do two nights of the Super Trucks and Tractor Pull. We'll have seven classes each night. Part of the smoker tractors will pull both nights and it's a points event so they will have to participate if they want to win the points at the end of the year."

The Antique Tractor Pull will not be part of this year's fair line-up of events

McMillen urges fair goers to take the time to enjoy lots of delicious foods from the food booths and stop by to see the many commercial, agricultural, and women's exhibits.

The Kenneth Sandlin Center will be open Monday through Friday from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. and Saturday from 4:00 p.m.. until 9:00 p.m.

All Perishable exhibits ONLY will be accepted Saturday, July 17th from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Premium books are now available at DeKalb Community Bank, Liberty State Bank, the Chamber of Commerce Office, and at all libraries in DeKalb County.

Enjoy nightly entertainment at the Memory Lane Stage in Memory Village

DeKalb County Fair Memory Lane Stage Line-Up:
Monday Night July 19
6:00 - 7:00 pm- Jordyn Mallory
7:15 - 8:00 pm- The Springs Band

Tuesday Night July 20
6:00 - 7:00 pm- TBA
7:15 - 8:00 pm- Zack Allen

Wednesday Night July 21
6:00 - 7:00 pm- Mid-State Cloggers
7:15 - 8:15 pm- TBA

Thursday Night July 22
6:00 - 7:00 pm- Kenny Lee and Deidre Bentley
7:15 - 8:00 pm- The Under the Hill Gang -Ronnie Wilson

Friday Night July 23
6:00 - 7:00 pm- Terri Weaver
7:15 - 8:15 pm- Jubal's Cry

Saturday Night July 24
6:30 - 7:30 pm- The Springs Band
7:45 pm - until- Lakeside Drive

The following events are scheduled:

Monday, July 19th: Cattle Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; Off-Road Challenge at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 6:30 p.m.; Junior Fair Princess Pageant at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Fairest of the Fair Pageant at the Lions Club Pavilion. $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 20th: the Little Mr. and Miss Pageant for contestants ages 4-6 at 6:00 p.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion with a concert by Doug Collins to follow; Go-Cart Racing at 6:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Horse Show at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 21st: Little Miss Princess Pageant for contestants ages 7-8 at 6:00 p.m. followed by the Miss Sweetheart Pageant for those ages 10-12 at the Lions Club Pavilion; Four Wheeler and Motorcycle Racing at 6:00 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 22nd: Senior Citizen Day activities at 9:00 a.m. at the Lions Club Pavilion; 4-H Chick Chain Show at 5:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; Junior Goat Show at 6:00 p.m. at the Tot Kelly barn; a Baby Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by a Vintage Fashion Show at the Lions Club Pavilion; and a Rodeo at the T.C. McMillen Arena at 7:30 p.m.; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Friday, July 23rd: Toddler Show at 6:00 p.m. followed by DeKalb Idol Final Competition at the Lions Club Pavilion; a Super Truck and Tractor Pull at 7:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena; and a Demolition Derby at 7:00 p.m. at the Grandstand; $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 24th: Horseshow Tournament at the Tot Kelly barn at 3:00 p.m.; Gospel singing at the Lions Club Pavilion at 6:00 p.m.; Antique Tractor Pull at 2:00 p.m at the T.C. McMillen Arena.; Super Tractor and Truck Pull at 7:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena: and a $1000 cash giveaway at 9:30 p.m.

One thousand dollars in cash will be given away each night, Monday through Saturday at 9:30 p.m. at the Lion's Club Pavilion and you must be present to win. If no one presents the winning ticket within three minutes, the money will be saved and given away on Saturday night in increments of $1,000. Your fair admission ticket is your ticket for the cash drawing.

ALL NEW RIDES on the Midway will be provided by the Family Attractions Amusement Company. Unlimited rides will be available each night for $16.00.

Admission to the fair is $3.00 per person. Children age four and younger will be admitted free! Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday. Parking is Free!

For more information, call 529-FAIR or visit on-line at www.dekalbcountyfair.us.


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