Local News Articles

Hurricane Bridge Rehab Included in Proposed State Budget through TDOT's Better Bridge Bonding Program

April 30, 2010
Dwayne Page
TDOT Inspects Hurricane Bridge Last Week

The rehabilitation of Hurricane Bridge in DeKalb County is among the projects to be funded through TDOT's Better Bridge bonding program in the proposed fiscal year 2010-11 state budget.

Governor Phil Bredsen made the announcement in a news release Friday.

State Senator Mae Beavers, who was in Smithville Friday, said this is good news for the people of DeKalb County. She added that TDOT plans to address funding for the replacement of Sligo bridge next year. "We have the Hurricane bridge that is going to be in the budget this year and the Sligo bridge is up for (bid) letting next year (2011-2012). Actually Hurricane bridge hasn't been in the works as long as Sligo has but they had to prioritize them and with the condition of Hurricane, that had to take top priority. They're going to have to remove some of the decking that was put on a few years back because it's put too much weight on the bridge so that will be a rehab and you'll probably continue to see some of the lanes closed at least going one way or the other. So that is in the budget this year and they should be able to let a contract on that in July 2011. That is good for the people of DeKalb County. There's a commitment from TDOT to finish both of these bridges."

Paul Degges, Chief Engineer for TDOT said during a January meeting at Smithville City Hall that the price tag for the Hurricane bridge rehab project is estimated to be between $12 to $15 million.

Unlike Sligo, the state will be looking to do a rehab on Hurricane bridge, not a replacement. And while both bridges remain safe to travel under posted weight limits, Degges says TDOT will give Hurricane bridge priority over Sligo bridge. "This bridge (Hurricane) was built in 1944 and in the late 1970's the department came in and put a new bridge deck on it. We actually widened it. We met the design specifications at the time. Since that time, the design specifications for bridges have changed, particularly in the aftermath of the failure (of a bridge) in Minneapolis. Truss bridges in particular have been looked at a whole lot harder in the last couple of years. So we're having to go back in and based on these new design criteria, look at this bridge. This will be a rehab. We'll do a lot of work on the concrete deck. We need to narrow the shoulders a little bit and then strengthen some of the truss members underneath the bridge."

Governor Bredesen Friday released the final three-year transportation program of his administration which includes completion of several major strategic corridor projects and the state's Better Bridges bonding program. The three-tiered program includes $1.5 billion for highways and bridges to fund more than 175 individual project phases in 70 counties in Tennessee. Included in the proposal, which has been presented to the Legislature, are 26 highway and bridge projects in TDOT's Region Two alone.

"TDOT's three-year multimodal work program for 2010 to 2013 represents a responsible, balanced approach to transportation that includes a number of projects identified as top priorities by the state's planning organizations," said Governor Bredesen. "One of the priorities I set when I became Governor was to see TDOT become a more open and responsive agency. There have been many changes since then, including the shift to multi-modal planning and creation of a new 25-year multi-modal transportation plan, new programs to better protect the environment, and a renewed focus on listening to the citizens of the state. I'm pleased this final three-year program accomplishes many of the goals I set forth for this administration."

TDOT's Region Two includes Bledsoe, Bradley, Cannon, Clay, Coffee, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Franklin, Grundy, Hamilton, Jackson, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Overton, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, Sequatchie, Van Buren, Warren and White counties.

"Through this three-year multimodal program, the department will complete the Better Bridges bonding program in three years rather than the four originally planned, will address a number of strategic corridors identified in the 10-year program and includes several projects to address congestion in both urban and rural areas," said TDOT Commissioner Gerald Nicely. "Years of planning and study have gone into each of the projects funded for construction."

26 projects in TDOT's Region Two will be funded through TDOT's regular program. The program funds projects to relieve congestion in Chattanooga and surrounding areas including, the widening of U.S. 27 (State Route-29) in Hamilton County from north of the Tennessee River Bridge to SR-8 (U.S. 127) in Fiscal Year 2010/11 and FY 2011/12 and widening of the Olgiati Brige over the Tennessee River on U.S. 27 (FY2012/13). A new interchange on State Route 311 (APD 40) in Bradley County between I-75 (exit 20) and SR-2 (U.S. 11) in Cleveland (FY-2010/11) is also funded through the program as well as a widening on U.S. 70 in Cannon and Warren Counties from near SR-281 to Centertown (FY 2010/11). The program also includes funds to appraise and acquire right-of-way for the county seat connector project on U.S. 127 (SR-28) in Cumberland and Fentress Counties from near Lowe Road to SR-62 in Clarkrange (FY 2010/11).

In addition to the highway projects listed above, in DeKalb County the rehabilitation of the Hurricane Bridge on SR-56 (Cookeville Hwy.) over the Caney Fork River (FY 2010/11) is funded through TDOT's Better Bridge bonding program. A total of six bridge repair or replacement projects in Region Two in this three-year multimodal program are funded through the Better Bridges bond program.

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

April 30, 2010
State Representative Terri Lynn Weaver

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

Greetings! The Ignition interlock proposal championed by myself and my colleagues for a number of years cleared a major hurdle this week as the Budget Subcommittee, commonly known as the ‘black hole’ committee of the legislature, overwhelmingly approved the measure.

The bill requires anyone convicted of a DUI with a blood alcohol content (BAC) level of .15 or higher to use the ignition interlock device (IID). Ignition interlock devices have been implemented around the country, and tests the driver’s BAC level. If it is above the set limit, the car will not start.

I firmly believe this legislation will save lives on our Tennessee Highways and I am honored to be a prime co-sponsor of HB2768. Having now passed the Budget Subcommittee, the legislation will be heard next week in the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee.

The Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee discussed the workers’ compensation insurance issue at length this week, hammering out a proposal that advanced to the House Government Operations Committee. Under the legislation, anyone engaged in the construction industry must carry workers’ compensation insurance on any employee, as well as any subcontractor not otherwise covered by a policy. Sole proprietors, partners, officers of corporations and members of limited liability companies will be required to carry workers’ compensation insurance on themselves.

However, sole proprietors, partners, officers of corporations and members of limited liability companies engaged as contractors may exempt themselves from workers' compensation coverage if they:

Own at least 30 percent of the business; and serve in a supervisory role while attending the worksite without engaging in any of the sub-classifications for the building construction categories listed in rules set by the Tennessee board for licensing contractors.

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development gave the House Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee a snapshot of where the state’s unemployment compensation fund currently stands. A representative from the department said the fund currently has a balance of approximately $8 million, but is in the process of receiving first quarter taxes from employers and should have about $221.4 million by the second quarter of this year. The state had taken in 58,569 claims by the end of January, a decrease of about 36 percent from January of 2009.

Tennessee has a $120 million line of credit with the U.S. Department of Labor, and to date has only tapped $20 million of those funds. On March 3rd, the governor requested a loan from the U.S. Secretary of Labor due to the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development’s promise that the $20 million will be paid back in the next couple of weeks.

We voted last year to save Tennessee’s Unemployment Trust Fund from federal intervention, saying that the move was necessary to keep the federal government from completely taking over the nearly insolvent fund. The fund was approaching insolvency after the state unemployment rate jumped to 10 percent in 2009, and with the continuously rising percentage of Tennesseans out of work, the fund is being drained of resources. Many legislators supported the move, on the condition that a series of triggers allow unemployment taxes to decrease if the fund’s balance reaches a certain threshold.

The Tennessee Department of Health issued a warning this week about a potential scam that is making the rounds in Tennessee. Reports have been turned in to the department that someone claiming to be a Health Department Vital Records employee is calling households seeking citizens to confirm important personal information such as birth certificate information.

The Commissioner of Health said the Office of Vital Records does not send employees to homes and issued the following tips to help protect against scammers:

Be wary of anyone who shows up at your home or calls you claiming to be with the government and asking for identifying information. Although U.S. Census workers may visit your home or call within the next few months to obtain information for the 2010 Census, employees from other federal agencies usually will not. Medicare staffers will not visit your home or call unless you request it.

Don't give out personal information — including your date of birth, bank account number, Social Security number or your Medicare number — to strangers.

If you believe you have been the target of a bogus attempt to get personal information, call your local police department. If you feel you are in immediate danger, call 911.

As always it is an honor to serve you the 40th District. Please, do not hesitate to call my office at 615-741-2192 if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to visit.

Danny Bond Gets 500th Career Win as DCHS Tigerette Softball Coach

April 29, 2010
Dwayne Page
 Tigerette Coach Danny Bond Gets 500th Career Win (Photo by Tim Woodward)

DeKalb County High School Tigerette Coach Danny Bond got his 500th career victory as head softball coach Thursday and his team completed a perfect season in district play at 10 and 0 with a 3 to 1 win over Livingston Academy in Smithville.

Bond, the only coach the Tigerette program has had since it began in 1986, says this milestone is not just his alone. "I think it's the program's 500. I just happened to be at the helm, We've had some really good teams and really good girls, parents, administration, assistant coaches, and a good following from the community. If you get all those things together then you're going to be successful at something. I guess I'm kinda lucky, fortunate, and blessed to be able to get that many (wins). I told the girls, we've gone 10 and 0 in the district and that you have 30 wins this season and really that's the biggest thing about today. The 500 (observance), it will come and go but we still have a team that has won the regular season championship, won 30 games, and we're expecting to win some more."

In the game Thursday, the Tigerettes scored two runs in the second inning and one run in the fourth. Livingston Academy scored one run in the first.

Morgan Page, the winning pitcher, went the distance in the seven inning game. She gave up the one run on six hits. She struck out five and walked two.

Page also had a single and a solo homerun.

Cynthia Woodward, Jaylen Garrett, Hannah Green, and Brooke Hutchings each had a single and Alex Meadows doubled.

With the win, the Tigerettes are now 30-6 overall, 10 and 0 in the district.

DeKalb County will also participate in the Coffee County Tournament Friday and Saturday with pool play times being Friday at 4:00 p.m. vs Hendersonville and 5:30 p.m. vs. St. Benedict. On Saturday, the Tigerettes will play at 9:00 a.m. vs. Hume Fogg.

Early Voting Ends with 1,142 Having Cast Ballots for May 4th Primary

April 29, 2010
Dwayne Page

A total of 1,142 people cast ballots during the early voting period of April 14th through April 29th for the DeKalb County Democratic Primary. That's down a bit from the 1,384 who voted early in the local democratic primary four years ago.

The largest single day turnout during the fourteen day early voting period was on the last day Thursday, April 29th when 191 showed up to cast ballots, in addition to one ballot cast by mail.

The results revealed some other interesting statistics. For example, more women voted than men; older voters turned out in greater numbers than younger voters; and among the seven districts in the county, the third district had the highest number of early voters.

The following are the numbers of voters by age groups:

Age 18-20: 19 voters
Age 21-30: 54 voters
Age 31-40: 97 voters
Age 41-50: 155 voters
Age 51-65: 369 voters
Age Over 65: 448 voters

Voters by sex:
Female: 595

Heres how the vote breaks down by district:
First District: 77
Second District: 112
Third District: 285
Fourth District: 198
Fifth District: 164
Sixth District: 119
Seventh District:187
Total: 1,142

Daily voting totals from April 14th-29th:
Wednesday, April 14th: 94 ( 80 by personal appearance and 14 by mail)
Thursday, April 15th: 83 (82 by personal appearance and one by mail)
Friday, April 16th: 75 by personal appearance
Saturday, April 17th: 43 (40 by personal appearance and three by mail)
Monday, April 19th: 63 (57 by personal appearance and six by mail)
Tuesday, April 20th: 70 (64 by personal appearance and six by mail)
Wednesday, April 21st: 54 (50 by personal appearance and four by mail)
Thursday, April 22nd: 92 by personal appearance
Friday, April 23rd: 69 (68 by personal appearance and one by mail)
Saturday, April 24th:69 (66 by personal appearance,including 24 at the nursing home, and three by mail)
Monday, April 26th: 77 (75 by personal appearance and two by mail)
Tuesday, April 27th: 70 (65 by personal appearance and five by mail)
Wednesday, April 28th: 91 (87 by personal appearance and four by mail)
Thursday, April 29th: 192 (191 by personal appearance and one by mail)

If you are eligible to vote and did not take advantage of early voting, you may vote at the precinct where you are registered to vote on Tuesday, May 4th . The polls will be open from 8:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

WJLE will have LIVE election return coverage Tuesday night starting at 7:00 p.m. on AM 1480/FM 101.7 and LIVE audio streaming at www.wjle.com. The WJLE broadcast may also be heard on MYDTC3, the local cable channel of DTC Communications.

Northside Elementary School Presents the Musical, "A Country Explosion

April 29, 2010
Darrin Vincent

Northside Elementary School presents the musical, "A Country Explosion," on Tuesday, May 4th at 6:30 p.m. in the NES gymnasium. The fifth grade students will present a tribute to country musicians and their music of yesterday and today.

DeKalb County does not have a theater for public performances of the arts; however, Northside Elementary School's spring musical provides our students with the opportunity for artistic expression. This year's production is comprised of approximately one hundred seventy-eight fifth grade students plus staff. "A Country Explosion" is a student-based community project, combining the talents of Northside students, faculty, and staff, as well as the talents of several Smithville community members.

Smithville's Darrin Vincent of the award-winning bluegrass group, Dailey & Vincent, will be performing in Northside's musical. In addition, Joe Dean, one of the musicians in Dailey & Vincent, will also be performing in this year's fifth grade musical. Dailey & Vincent took home seven awards at the 2008 International Bluegrass Music Awards Show and in 2009, they won Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year ("On the Other Side"). They will be performing on July 15th at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. They will also perform on October 2nd at Jackson County High School at a benefit concert, where proceeds will go to help the children of Jackson and DeKalb Counties. NES Music Director, Kelly Jo Birmingham says, "It's an honor to get to work with Darrin and Joe. They are incredibly talented musicians and they are also very wonderful people. They have been really supportive of our school and students this year and we appreciate them taking time out of their busy schedule to help us."

Admission to the NES musical is free to the public. Come support the arts at Northside Elementary School on Tuesday May 4th.

Girl Scouts Visit WJLE

April 28, 2010
Dwayne Page
Girl Scouts Visit WJLE

Members of Girl Scout Troop #1146 visited WJLE on a field trip Tuesday evening.

WJLE staff announcer Dana Cantrell interviewed the girl scouts "LIVE" on the air, including Neely Evans, Emily Wallace, Makira Johnson, Sara Beth LaFever, Hailey Rowland, Peyton Hensley, and Chloe Cantrell and he explained to them how the radio station operates.

Troop leader Ronica Evans says Girl Scout Troop 1146 is working toward the Bronze award, the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn. To earn the award, girl scouts must complete a service project. For their project, the girl scouts have chosen to make "Kiddie Kases". These cases will provide basic supplies and comfort for Foster Kids. The girl scouts are asking for donations of:

New backpacks or totes
Toothbrushes and toothpaste
Trial size shampoo and soap
Crayons and coloring books
Mini toys
Notepads, pencils
New stuffed animals
New kids underwear (all sizes)

The girl scouts appreciate any help you can give for this worthy cause. For more information or to make a donation, please contact troop leader Ronica Evans at 597-1542 or email troop01146@hotmail.com.

Three Injured in Crash Involving a School Bus and a Chevy Blazer

April 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
 School Bus Involved in Wreck
Chevy Blazer Collides with School Bus
Students Escape Injury in School Bus Wreck, Three Others Hurt

The driver and eighteen students aboard a DeKalb County school bus escaped injury Tuesday afternoon after being involved in a traffic accident near the school zone at the intersection of North Congress Boulevard and Smith Road in front of Northside Elementary School. However, three people in the 1992 Chevy Blazer that struck the bus, including a two year old child, were hurt in the crash and taken to the hospital.

Central Dispatch received the call at 2:45 p.m.

Lieutenant Randy Maynard of the Tennessee Highway Patrol says bus # 3, driven by 81 year old Walter Phillips, had just left the school with the students and was on Smith Road, turning south on Highway 56 when a Chevy Blazer, driven by 23 year old Kenny Waymon Dyal, Jr. of Smithville, struck the bus. Dyal was traveling north on Highway 56 (North Congress Boulevard)The impact damaged the rear left side of the bus and detached the rear axle from the frame. The bus had to be towed away and the blazer was totaled.

Director of Schools Mark Willoughby told WJLE that none of the students aboard the bus were hurt. After the accident, the students remained on the bus while their parents were contacted. Some parents came to the scene to pick up their children. Other students on board the bus were loaded onto another bus to be taken home. Mr. Phillips was also uninjured.

Lieutenant Maynard says three others were in the Blazer with Dyal, 22 year old Ashley LeAnn Spivey and their children, a two year old girl and a one year old boy. Both Dyal and Spivey suffered facial injuries and Spivey had a dislocated elbow. Neither of them were wearing their seatbelts. They were taken by DeKalb EMS to DeKalb Community Hospital. The children were in child restraint devices and the one year old was not injured. However, Lieutenant Maynard said it was later discovered that both legs of the two year old girl were broken. The child was treated at the hospital here and later she and her mother, Spivey were taken by ambulance to Vanderbilt Hospital for further treatment. It's not known at this time if the child was properly secured in the child restraint.

Lieutenant Maynard says Dyal was charged with failure to exercise due care, violation of the financial responsibility law (no insurance), and violation of the seat belt law. He says there could be another citation issued against one of the drivers as a result of the investigation.

Lieutenant Maynard was assisted by Trooper Darrell Knowles of the Tennessee Highway Patrol.. Others rendering assistance included the Smithville Police and Fire Departments and the DeKalb County Sheriff's Department. Mr. Willoughby and other school officials were also on site during the investigation.

City Leaders Interview Applicants for Police Chief

April 27, 2010
Dwayne Page
Larry D Parsley
Kenneth D Smith

The Mayor and Aldermen met Monday night with each of the three men who have applied to become the next Smithville Police Chief.

The interviews with Larry Parsley of Lenior City, Kenneth Smith of Watertown, and Randy Caplinger of Smithville were conducted, one at a time, in an informal workshop setting at city hall.

Each applicant was questioned by Alderman/Police Commissioner Aaron Meeks, Alderman Shawn Jacobs, Alderman Steve White, and Mayor Taft Hendrixson. Aldermen W.J. (Dub) White
and Cecil Burger asked no questions during the workshop. The same basic questions were put to all three men.

The aldermen took no action Monday night. It's not yet known when a decision will be made on the selection of a new police chief.

Parsley, who is a retired Lieutenant of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, was the first to be interviewed. In his opening remarks, Parsley mentioned that he once lived here. "I was raised in DeKalb County and lived on the Cookeville Highway. I left here in 1969 and went in the service. I live in Lenoir City right now. I'd like to move back to Smithville. I'm retired from the Tennessee Highway Patrol."

If hired by the city, Parsley pointed out that he would have to renew his POST certification since he has been retired from the THP for almost seven years. "Two years ago they changed the law. Now if you've been retired five years, you have to go to a three week school at Donelson, which I will do on my own, I don't want it to interfere with the City of Smithville. There's a $750 charge but I'll pay that out of my pocket, because one of your requirements is that (the chief) be POST certified. I am certifiable. It's a three week school and I was going to try and get in it before you hired and get it over with, but they just have a school twice per year and the next school is July 19th through August 5th. If I were God blessed enough to get this position, I will go on my own time. It's Monday through Friday, so I could work the weekends when I come back or whatever I need to do to make up the time. I'll pay for the cost of it. When I retired, all you had to do was go down there and take a test and as long as you passed it, you were POST certified. But they changed the law two years ago and I didn't know it."

Alderman Jacobs said he wants the next chief to develop a true criminal investigations division within the police department and asked Parsley what experience or special training he had in regard to criminal investigations.

In his response, Parsley suggested that as a member of the THP, he had some training along this line and had assisted other law enforcement agencies in their crime investigations." I've helped the county and city in Knoxville, Lenior City and Loudon County on several cases, where we've stopped people on the Interstate. I've gone to several schools that the Secret Service taught and some other schools. We had schools there in Knoxville with the Knoxville Police Department that I went to."

Jacobs said he wants the next police chief to do more to address the problem of drugs and property crimes in this town. "That is my number one priority. I want to see a first class investigative unit in the city police department because of the drug trade here and all the property crimes that result from the drug trade."

Jacobs then asked Parsley if he would have any problem taking the initiative in spearheading a department like that and seeing that the officers get the kind of training so they could spearhead investigations on their own.

Parsley replied, " I welcome it. Smithville has grown a lot since I left here in 1969. They need something like that here."

Parsley added that he would be visible in the community. " I'll go around town and I'll meet with every business owner in this city. I will step foot in their door, meet them and talk to them. I'd like to meet with the school superintendent, the principals of each school, and the teachers whenever they have a teacher's meeting to assist them anyway I can."

Mayor Hendrixson stressed that the police chief should be more active. "We would like to have a working chief, not just someone who is in the office all the time. On occasion, we would like for the chief to be out on the road with the officers."

Parsley said that would not be a problem for him "You will see me on the road probably more than you want to. When I go to work, I'll come to the office. If I have phone calls I need to return, talk to you gentlemen, or talk to citizens, I'll do that. I'd like to have an officer at each school zone every morning and afternoon and If I have to cover one of them, I will. I won't be somebody who will come in the chief's office, go in and stare at the wall eight hours a day. I'm not made that way. I'm a people person and I'll be out (on the streets). I'll assist them (officers) any way I can and I will be available seven days a week, twenty four hours a day. If one of my men calls in sick and I don't have enough help, I'll come in and work the road."

Alderman Meeks pointed out that "the chief's job is a 24/7 position and there is no overtime."

In response to a question from Alderman Steve White about handling drug cases, Parsley said "I've got some people I've worked with, I would call them and get them to assist me here in the city, as far as putting some undercover people here because I know there is a little drug problem here."

In closing, Parsley said "I'd like to have it (police chief) and if I'm God blessed enough to get it, I'll do you a good job."

The mayor and aldermen then turned their attentions to Smith, who is currently serving as Chief of Police of the Lakewood Police Department at Old Hickory in Davidson County.

In his opening remarks, Smith said that he is 45 years old and resides in Watertown. "I've been in law enforcement for 26 years. I started in 1984 as a reserve officer at Mount Juliet and I've worked my way up through the ranks at Mount Juliet and then I went to work for the Lebanon Police Department full time in 1986. In 2006, I left Lebanon and went to the Mount Juliet Police Department, they wanted me to head up the traffic division they were starting up. I went down there and established the traffic division and then had the opportunity to advance to the Lakewood Police Department in July, 2008, where I am still employed presently as the chief of police. I've held that position for almost two years."

Alderman Meeks asked Smith why he prefers being the chief of police in Smithville.

Smith, in response, said there are two reasons. " I like Smithville. I've always wanted to live in this area. The second reason is we have a group of people at Lakewood, called "Citizens to Reform Lakewood", they got a little upset at the commissioners about an ordinance that was passed, so now they have established a petition to take it before the election commission to abolish the city charter, which would abolish the city of Lakewood. It's before the election commission at this time. If they certify the petition, then it will go on the ballot August 5th. If it passes, then there will be a sixty day turnaround and Metro/ Nashville will take over and the city of Lakewood and all of it's employees will be no longer. I currently have twelve officers under me, five full time, one part time, and then I have reserves."

Smith addressed some of the training he has had and his background in law enforcement. "All of my certifications are still up to date. Throughout the course of my law enforcement career I have attended numerous investigative schools including a criminal investigations school, covering case prep and investigating crime scenes. For many years, I've also been the accident re-constructionist for the Mount Juliet and Lebanon Police Departments and currently I am the one (re-constructionist) at Lakewood, which involves fatalities. I have investigated numerous fatalities, which are crime scenes, homicides possibly. I've worked closely with the D.A's office. I've been involved in numerous crime scene investigations while I was with the Lebanon Police Department. For several years I worked the projects. I was over a group of guys. We did drug interdiction and patroled the projects"

When asked by Alderman Jacobs about establishing a criminal investigations division in the Smithville Police Department, Smith said he would see that this was done. "I feel confident that I could provide you with a top of the line investigations division."

Speaking of his experience as Lakewood Police Chief, Smith says " We work closely with the Metro Police Department. We've built a positive relationship with Metro compared to what it used to be. The officers work real good together. We swap intelligence. We assist Metro on undercover operations."

" I'm a firm believer in attacking drugs with every means possible. It's a war that will never be won, but we can make a dent if everybody works together. I'm a believer in training the officers to the fullest extent because it makes them a better officer and it makes them do a better job. It makes the police department look good and makes the city look good. It sends out a message that we're not going to tolerate this (drugs) in our town."

When asked by the mayor about his being a "working chief", Smith responded, "I'm not going to ask my officers to do something that I'm not willing to do myself."

In closing, Smith said "If I'm fortunate enough to get it (police chief), I'm confident that I can make you a police department that you and the city can be proud of."

The mayor and aldermen then met with Caplinger, who is a retired Lieutenant Colonel/Major of the Tennessee Highway Patrol and since October, 2006 has been Transportation/Safety Director for Kitchen Craft of Smithville.

In response to a question by Alderman Meeks as to why he wants to be the next police chief, Caplinger said "law enforcement has been my career. I spent thirty something years with the state. I enjoy what I'm doing but I miss the job (law enforcement) and that type of opportunity and when I saw it (police chief) becoming available, I decided I wanted to apply for it. I started in law enforcement in 1976 and stayed thirty years. You kinda get used to it after a while."

Caplinger, when asked about the status of his POST certification, said that "before I ever applied, I checked with POST and my understanding is as long as you're not out (of law enforcement) over five years, you're eligible to go back. Of course I have to send in my psychological, physical, and training records, and it takes a letter from the city if hired sent to POST. I was told that I'm also supposed to take a week of in-service for my certification."

In response to Alderman Jacobs' question about experience in criminal investigations, Caplinger said "As a supervisor I had investigators who worked for me and one thing you will not see on my resume is that for two years when I was a sergeant, I worked as an auto theft investigator, working investigations with drugs and auto thefts and when I became Captain I had the K-9 dogs assigned to me and I worked drugs with those in investigations through the Department of Safety. I've worked daily investigations when the state required, with auto thefts or whatever it may be and we used to work drugs. The Department of Safety doesn't work drugs anymore."

Asked if he would set up a criminal investigations division and make sure the officers receive the proper training, Caplinger said "I sure would. And not taking away from what we have now, but I think that's one of your number one problems that you have now is your investigations. The majority of the county's population is in the city of Smithville and that's where we have our crimes. We have a drug problem."

As for being a working chief, Caplinger said "That's what a chief should do. I did that even as a supervisor with the state as a Captain and even as a Major. I worked with my men. I mean, anybody who is above getting out and going to work at midnight with some of the officers, during the night, or whatever that shift may be, something is wrong. He needs to be out there, understand what's going on, know what the public wants, and what the officers need."

Alderman Steve White inquired about Caplinger's certifications as an instructor. In response, Caplinger said "As far as a radar instructor, I can go back for a twelve hour course to be re-certified. I'm still certified as a firearms instructor. The radar, the DUI, and the CPR training, I'm still certified on it. And it doesn't have anything to do with the job, I don't know what the city requires, but I'm a certified OSHA officer too, if OSHA ever comes in." Caplinger also has TEAMA training in handling hazardous materials.

Caplinger added that if hired, he would be willing to go to work at the discretion of the city. "I'm available 24/7. The chief's job is my number one priority, if I get it."

DCHS Students Enjoy Prom Night

April 26, 2010
Prom King and Queen Tyler McCloud and Micah Prichard

"Here's to the Night"

DeKalb County High School prom king and queen Tyler McCloud and Micah Prichard enjoy a dance during Friday night's event.

This year's prom was held at the Stone's River Country Club at Murfreesboro.

Students gathered at the high school Friday afternoon, all decked out in their prom night attire, for photographs and to meet with family and friends before leaving for the dance, many in stretch

Click here to see more prom night photos (many provided by Judith Hale) http://www.wjle.com/node/10386

Shehane Charged with Promoting the Manufacture of Methamphetamine

April 26, 2010
Dwayne Page
Clent Lee Shehane
Travis Matthew Pezak
Amy Janette Lawson
Gary Edward Matthews
Joel Thomas Hayes
John Anthony Poss
Andre Ronrico Watson
Shannon Ray Herman

A 24 year old man was arrested on drug charges last week after admitting to gathering items for someone else to make methamphetamine.

Clent Lee Shehane of Sparta Highway was charged Wednesday, April 21st with promotion to manufacture a schedule II controlled substance (Methamphetamine). His bond is set at $10,000 and his court date is April 29th.

Sheriff Patrick Ray says detectives went to the home of Shehane to do an investigation and found 2 hot plates, ph strips, lye, several empty cans and bottles, and a propane tank which were believed to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. Shehane said he was getting the items for someone else to manufacture methamphetamine.

Meanwhile, in other cases 20 year old Travis Matthew Pezak of Ridgeview Lane, Baxter is charged with domestic assault, possession of a schedule II controlled substance (Dilaudid) and possession of a schedule IV drug (Xanax) for sale and delivery. His bond is set at $10,000 and he will be in court on May 6th. Sheriff Ray says on Tuesday, April 20th, a deputy responded to Ridgeview Lane, Baxter to a domestic call. Upon arrival, the officer spotted Pezak running off in the woods. Through an investigation, the officer discovered that Pezak had assaulted his girlfriend. The woman had blood coming from her mouth and there were marks on her back. Pezak was arrested for domestic assault and when he was searched, a container was found in his pocket with 4 Dilaudids and 10 Xanax. The officer also seized $870.00 from Pezak, believed to be proceeds from drug sales.

32 year old Amy Janette Lawson of South College Street Apartments is charged with a first offense of driving under the influence, a second offense of driving on a suspended license, and possession of drug paraphernalia. Sheriff Ray says on Friday, April 23rd, a deputy spotted Lawson operating a motor vehicle on College Street in Smithville and noticed that she was weaving all over the roadway and almost struck a mailbox. Lawson had slurred speech, her eyes were squinted, and she had very slow reactions to the officer's questions. She submitted to field sobriety tasks which she failed. A computer check of Lawson's drivers license revealed that they were suspended for failure to satisfy a citation in DeKalb County. A search of Lawson's purse turned up a hypodermic syringe. While transporting her to the jail, the officer noticed Lawson trying to hide something as she sat in the back of his patrol car. Upon inspection of the back seat , the deputy found yet another hypodermic needle. Prior to her arrest on Friday, Lawson had been in General Sessions Court, where she was ordered by Judge Bratten H. Cook, II not to be driving. Since her arrest, Judge Cook has ordered Lawson to be held without bond until her next court date on April 29th.

37 year old Gary Edward Matthews of Four Seasons Road Smithville is charged with public intoxication and introduction or possession of drugs in a penal institution where prisoners are quartered. According to Sheriff Ray, Matthews came into the DeKalb County Jail on Friday, April 23rd to serve his weekend sentence. As he entered, correctional officers noticed Matthews to be under the influence of drugs. They also found a yellow pill believed to be an Oxycodone in his sock. Sheriff Ray says this is not the first time Matthews has been charged with bringing drugs into the jail. On March 27th, 2009 Matthews allegedly tried to smuggle 19 pills believed to be Hydocodone into the DeKalb County Jail after he was arrested on other charges. Bond for Matthews was set at $11,000 and he will appear in court on May 6th.

32 year old Joel Thomas Hayes of Bobby Hayes Road, Dowelltown is charged with public intoxication after he came to the jail on Friday, April 23rd to serve his weekend sentence. Sheriff Ray says correctional officers noticed Hayes to be unsteady on his feet and he had slurred speech. Hayes admitted to taking Hydocodone and Percocet, before coming to the jail to serve his time. Bond for Hayes was set at $1,000 and he will appear in court on May 6th.

42 year old John Anthony Poss of Poss Road, Smithville is charged with a fourth offense of driving under the influence, a first offense of driving on a revoked license, evading arrest, and reckless endangerment. His bond is set at $10,500 and he will be in court on May 6th. Sheriff Ray says on Sunday, April 25th, a deputy responded to a complaint of a reckless driver on Evins Mill Road Smithville. When the officer spotted the suspected vehicle, he noticed it was swerving in the roadway and almost hit other oncoming vehicles. The deputy activated his blue lights and siren, but the driver of the vehicle refused to stop. The officer pursued Poss for approximately three miles until he (Poss) hit a light pole on Prater Road. Poss appeared to be under the influence of an intoxicant having a smell of alcohol on his person. He was also unsteady on his feet. Poss refused to perform field sobriety tasks telling the deputy that the reason he ran from the law is because he was intoxicated. A computer check of Poss' driver's license revealed them to be revoked for a driving under the influence conviction on October 15th, 2009 in DeKalb County.

Meanwhile, Sheriff Ray says the latest to be arrested in the recent drug round-up are:

34 year old Andre Ronrico Watson of Oriole Drive, McMinnville charged with
2 counts sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
Bond $50,000.00

25 year old Shannon Ray Herman of Author Hollis Lane, Woodbury charged with
4 counts of sale and delivery of a schedule II drug
4 counts violation of the drug free act
Bond $70,000.00


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