Local News Articles

Utility-funds scam is gathering steam and victims – don’t be next!

July 18, 2012

Have you been contacted by someone claiming to be from your utility company, promising the U.S. government will aid your payments through specially approved funds? The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Division of Consumer Affairs warns utility consumers to be on guard: Your personal information is at risk.

Consumers that are contacted are being advised to provide Social Security numbers. Once a consumer provides this information, a bank account number is given, supposedly to fund payments. But, the bank account numbers being provided to victims are fake and consumers’ payments are being returned.

“There is no such federal utility payment assistance program,” said Consumer Affairs Director Gary Cordell. “However, utility customers seem to be falling for the ruse, making it one of the more successful scams in recent times. Victims often share the information with family and friends, who also fall for the scam before learning the truth.”

Scammers find victims through all the usual channels: emails, bogus Tweets and Facebook messages. They are also reported to be going block by block, knocking on residents’ doors and handing out leaflets encouraging people to pay their bills with the bogus account information. Scammers also tend to prey on people looking for a shortcut or for the promise of free or easy money. Word of mouth playing on that theme also appears to help this scam spread.

“One reason the scam is spreading is because it seems to work – at first,” said Cordell. “Before the local utility company gets wise to the bogus account numbers being used, the payments are processed and initially credited to victims, who receive payment confirmation notices. Only later, the payments are rescinded.”

If you are contacted by one of these scammers:

•Do not provide your Social Security number, credit card or banking information to anyone requesting it over the phone or at your home unless you initiated the contact and feel confident about to whom you are speaking.

•If you receive a call claiming to be from your utility company and feel pressured for immediate payment or personal information, hang up the phone and call the customer service number on your utility bill.

•Never allow anyone into your home supposedly to check electrical wiring, natural gas pipes or appliances unless you have scheduled an appointment or have reported a utility problem. Always ask for – and verify – proper identification.

If you have questions about your utility’s conduct, contact the Tennessee Regulatory Authority at www.tn.gov/TRA.

DeKalb Fair to Present Cattle Show and Open Rodeo Monday Night

July 18, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The DeKalb County Fair presents an Open Rodeo on Monday, July 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the T.C. McMillen Arena. Meanwhile, a Commercial Heifer Show and Open Beef Show is set for Monday at 6:00 p.m. at the grandstand.

Rodeo Highlight at Fair Monday Night from dwayne page on Vimeo.

The Open Rodeo events include:
Bareback Riding
Team Roping
Calf Roping
1-Barrel Speed Race
3-Barrel Speed Race
Bull Riding
Kids Events
Calf Scrambling

For information contact: Triple R. Rodeo, James Young at 931-256-0267 or 931-738-2713 or visit www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com.

The cattle show is open to anyone with registered beef cattle, if class is offered.
Beddings to be furnished by the exhibitor
Cattle are to be on the grounds by 5:00 p.m. the day of the show
Show begins at 6:00 p.m.
Cattle will be released by 9:00 p.m. Monday night
All cattle are to have health papers and will be checked with registration

Entry fee is $7.00
Premiums:
1st place: $20
2nd place: $15
3rd place: $10

For more information call David Crook at 529-1000 or Jana Crook at 615-464-3160

Classes include:
Jr. Showmanship
Sr. Showmanship
Jr. Bull Calf
Winter Bull Calf
Sr. Bull Calf
Summer Yearling Bull
Jr. Yearling Bull
Sr. Yearling Bull
Two year old Bull
Champion Bull
Reserve Champion Bull
Commercial Heifers
Jr. Heifer Calf
Winter Heifer Calf
Sr. Heifer Calf
Late Summer Yearling
Early Summer Yearling
Spring Yearly Heifer
Jr. Yearling Heifer
Sr. Yearling
Champion Female
Reserve Champion Female

Final Approval on FEMA "Safe Room" Grant Application Expected Soon

July 18, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

The school system should receive word within a few weeks on final approval of a FEMA grant to fund a classroom addition at DeKalb West School, including eight tornado "safe rooms"

M2U00733 from dwayne page on Vimeo.
David Brown of Kaatz, Binkley, Jones & Morris Architects of Mount Juliet updated the school board during its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night. "We actually had nine of these grants go through and get approved, yours being one of them. Three of them have come back from Atlanta already, getting approved and monies becoming available. I've spoken with the state and there is one more (grant application) ahead of you guys at the moment and then you guys are next. I expect monies becoming available for our DeKalb West project, probably in August. Nobody will swear to the date at all. They won't commit in any way but its encouraging to see the ones who have already gone down there and gone through the process and have come back actually quicker than I expected. We've already dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's and we're just waiting for it to go through the machine if you will. Meanwhile our roofing expert spent a day with Earl (Jared) and looked at the roofing jobs that you've got coming and all of those look very straight forward and easy to do so whenever you turn us loose on that we'll be able to have those ready to bid in no time at all and we'll be ready to start DeKalb West as well," said Brown.

The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency has already approved grant funds of more than $1.5 million for the safe room project at DeKalb West School, pending final approval by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The spending plan calls for $600,000 in local funding to meet a 12.5% FEMA grant match for building eight tornado "safe rooms" at DeKalb West School. The proposed addition would be constructed in the front of the school, including eight classrooms, restrooms, a new secure entrance, an office, clinic, conference room, guidance and teacher work area.

The county commission, Monday night, July 23, is expected to approve funding for the plan when it adopts budgets for the 2012-13 school year. A proposed $3.4 million note would cover the $600,000 grant match for the safe room project along with an $850,000 cafeteria and kitchen renovation project at DeKalb West School; a $1.1 million DeKalb Middle School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit), a $700,000 DeKalb West School roof project (roof and removal of metal overhang soffit and seal off gymnasium); and an $85,000 Smithville Elementary School roof project (8,000 square feet of the roof).

Meanwhile, in other business the board of education Tuesday night voted to sign up for a new program offered by TVA through its local distributors that uses a conglomerate of customers to ease electric load at peak times - typically in the height of summer - when demand for power can outstrip supply. By participating, the school system would receive financial incentives.

Under the TVA-EnerNOC Demand Response Program, school officials would be notified to reduce power consumption at any school building that qualifies. Locally, the high school, middle school, and possibly Northside elementary might be eligible for the program which could result in a possible curtailment of power by as much as 250 kilowatts combined.

Eligible customers not only save energy and earn money, but help support the reliability of the local electric grid and help maintain affordable electricity across the Tennessee Valley region by their participation.

Under the program, a team would identify the schools energy reduction potential, outline these measures in a detailed energy reduction plan, and install necessary metering devices to monitor energy consumption levels in real time. "The real plus to this is them coming in and telling us the areas that are using the most electricity and it not costing us anything for them giving us a prescription for it," said Director Mark Willoughby.

Maintenance Supervisor Earl Jared said while the program sounds like a good idea, it might not be feasible to implement it in the local school system. "It would be great", said Jared. "But if you can't shut enough (power) down to participate, then its going to be hard to do. It takes about 100 tons of cooling to shut down (qualify). We only have that much in a couple of buildings (DCHS and DMS). That might be all that qualifies," he said

Peak power demands usually occur during the afternoon and the school system could be asked to reduce power usage at a time when school or summer school is still in session. "They're going to call you about two o'clock in the afternoon and want you to shut down (reduce power) for about four hours," said Jared. "Then its going to get hotter (inside the buildings) from there on out. I'm not sure it would even be feasible to do it," he said.

Even when the call is placed to the school system to reduce power usage during peak demand, Director Willoughby said school officials could choose not to comply on that day, if there is some reason. But Jared pointed out that if the school system opted out too many times, it could be dropped from the program.

Since there is no cost to the school system to participate, Director Willoughby recommended giving it a try. "I'd rather to do it and if we can we will and if we can't do it we're not losing anything," he said.

DCHS Principal Patrick Cripps reported that Freshman Orientation is scheduled for July 30. "Our Freshman Orientation will be Monday, July 30. Students can be dropped off at 4:00 p.m. and parents can come back at 6:00 p.m.. We'll do orientation with them (students) and they can get their schedules. Freshmen students who do come on this date will not have to come to our half day registration on August 2. On July 26 & 27, new student registration will be held from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. That applies to new students in the county. This does not apply to new students coming to the high school from the middle school or the west school. Its just new students to our county. Also on July 26 & 27, grades 10, 11, & 12 can pick up their schedules between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. but they will still need to attend on that half day of registration," said Cripps.

Randy Jennings, Principal at DeKalb Middle School, said sixth grade orientation will be July 31. "Our sixth grade orientation at the middle school is July 31, which is on Tuesday night. We will be doing a call home to the students to let them know which students are to come at what time. We have two different groups who come. Seventh and eighth graders will register on August 2," he said.

Clay Farler, Attendance Supervisor, said parents may still enroll their children in pre-kindergarten."We had our pre-k registration on Monday. We had fewer to initially register this year than we had in the past so at the moment it looks like we still may have some openings. Several people came in today to register so if you would like to come by my office and pick up your registration papers, you're encouraged to do that, especially those of you who live in the west school area. We were lower there (on numbers) than we have been in recent years. Hopefully other people who were not able to come Monday will be able to come and register their students," he said.

Dee Anna Reynolds of the Coordinated School Health Program, reminded parents to make sure their children have all immunizations up to date. "I want to remind parents that there is still time to get their children's immunizations current and up to date and let them know that we will be at the middle school August 2 during registration to check on immunizations. If those are not current those students will not be allowed to come into school until those are updated. The two main shots that we will be looking for are the Tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis booster ("Tdap") and then there's a second dose of Varivax which is chicken pox or the parent can show proof that the child has had chicken pox if they do not have that second dose. We're also working with Mr. Farler with the pre-k registration now and checking those immunizations as well. For students who were in sixth grade last year and going into the seventh grade this year, letters were sent home for the first time prior to spring break hoping that would give parents that week while the children were off on spring break to get those (immunizations). Nurses went back and checked those again and a second letter was sent home the week before school was out so that they would have the summer to work on getting those immunizations current and up to date. There is still time now, if they have not had time to get those (immunizations) taken care of. There is still time to do that even with their private physician, medical doctor, or health department. We're also going forward with the back pack program again this year. We hope that we'll be able to feed kids every weekend as long as supplies and volunteers last. If anybody is interested in helping us with that give us a call with the coordinated school health program," said Reynolds.

Stephanie Dyer, School Nutrition Supervisor, reminded parents about making application for the free and reduced price lunch program "I want to remind all the parents that the free and reduced applications will be available in the students' packets and if they are not there, then you can get them in the teacher's classrooms or in the office. Please fill it out correctly. The instructions will be available on our website under lunch menu. That is the DeKalb County School website. Make sure you sign and put the last four digits of the parent's social security number on the back. Also make sure you check the NO income box, just in case. We're looking forward to Education Celebration and I want to tell all the parents to please come out to have some watermelon with us," said Dyer.

Meanwhile, Julie Vincent, Principal at Smithville Elementary School, reported that preparations are being made for the start of school there. "Things are really shaping up at Smithville Elementary School. The custodians are working super hard at getting the floors stripped and waxed. There's been a lot of painting that's gone on. I'd like to thank Mr (Randy) Jennings for loaning us one of his custodians to come over and help us get the floors done correctly. There's lots of good positive changes and I've had lots of great comments from teachers that have come in the classrooms already to work and move furniture. They just seem real excited. Its been real positive so far. Things will be all set to go come August 2 for registration and August 6 for the first full day," she said.

Director Willoughby also presented his monthly report on personnel to the board.

Those employed since the last meeting are as follows:
Nicole Reese, teacher at DCHS (math)
Brittany Allen-teacher at DCHS
Marilyn Roberts-teacher at DCHS
Ashlee Thomason- teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Heather Shehane-teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Megan Pack-teacher at Northside Elementary School
Jalene Vanatta-teacher at DeKalb West School
Julie Styler-special education teacher at Northside Elementary School

Transfers:
Amee Cantrell- transferred to a special education teaching position at DCHS
Amanda Mullinax-transferred from teacher position to librarian at DeKalb West School
Lindsey Holmes- transferred from teacher position at DeKalb West School to Smithville Elementary School
Sue Close- transferred from substitute teacher to English as a Second Language (ESL) assistant at Northside Elementary School
Mandi Dakas- transferred from teacher position to Assistant Principal at DeKalb Middle School
Beth Pafford- transferred from teacher position to Assistant Principal at Northside Elementary School
Lorie Isabell-transferred to Smithville Elementary School as special education teacher
Betsye Walker- transferred to part-time Northside Elementary School special education teacher position
Lisa Peterson- transferred from Educational Assistant Job Coach position to teacher at DeKalb West School
Melinda Lattimore- transferred from Smithville Elementary to Northside Elementary School
Teresa Sullivan- transferred from DeKalb Middle School/DCHS to Smithville Elementary School
Paulette McDonald-transferred from DeKalb Middle School to DCHS

Resignations/Retirements:
Anna Johnson, teacher at Smithville Elementary School
Shawn Baker, teacher at DeKalb West School
Cheryl Vance, teacher at Northside Elementary School

City Recognizes Pool Lifeguards

July 17, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Pool Lifeguards

The Smithville Mayor and Alderman Monday night paid tribute to lifeguards at the Municipal Swimming Pool for their work in helping keep the pool and its patrons safe this summer.

Tony Poss, operator of the pool and golf course, said the lifeguards did an outstanding job and he thanked them and city officials for their support of the lifeguards this year.

Certificates of appreciation on behalf of the city were presented by Mayor Jimmy Poss to each lifeguard. Some were absent due to other commitments. This year's lifeguards are Conner Apple, Jason Judkins, Lucas Phillips, Travon Johnson, Zach Taylor, Zack Vincent, Spencer Stanfield, Kevin Kijanski, Grace Webb, Ethan Roller, Dylan Young, Cole Parsley, Chase Cantrell, McKenzie Poteete, Johnna Roller, Camry White, Jake Odom, Mallory Sullivan, and Alex Hall.

Mayor Poss singled out White for pulling a child to safety this summer at the pool. Tony Poss also praised Judkins, Phillips, and Apple for helping save the lives of two people while on vacation in Florida, pulling them from ocean waters.

In other business, Edward Frazier of Cill Street came before the mayor and aldermen asking for enforcement of city ordinances to keep animals from running at large. Frazier said dogs running loose in his neighborhood are creating a nuisance. The city has ordinances requiring pet owners to keep animals from running free. Alderman Shawn Jacobs mentioned that the city has two animal control officers and suggested that Frazier or anyone with a problem such as this may call central dispatch at 215-3000 to have an officer address the problem. If they still don't get any satisfaction, they may further report it to the mayor and aldermen.

Todd Van Dyne, member of the DCHS Quarterback Club, addressed the mayor and aldermen asking that the city appropriate either $150 or $500 to purchase a banner in support of the local football program. The banner would be displayed during local games. Mayor Poss said city officials would discuss it and get back to him.

Alderman Danny Washer asked that the media be contacted to notify the public in the event of early garbage pickup. In recent weeks because of the hot weather, garbage pickup has started as early as 6:00 a.m. Public Works Director Kevin Robinson later told WJLE that the city will continue picking up garbage as early as 6:00 a.m. for now, until the end of the extremely hot weather season.

Mayor Poss also commended Alderman Sanitation Commissioner Jason Murphy for his volunteerism, taking part of a day recently to ride the garbage truck helping the sanitation workers.

Secretary-Treasurer Hunter Hendrixson also gave a brief financial report. "On our local sales tax for the year, from January til June, we collected $426,502. Compared to 2011 for the first six months, we collected $418,640 so we're up about $8,000. Its not a whole lot of difference but I'd rather it be up than down," said Hendrixson

"Our basic checking accounts, we have several but in our operations account, we have a general checking account which pays for police, fire, and finance and administration. Sanitation also comes out of that even though its in a separate account. At the end of June we had right at $3.4 million, compared to 2011 which was right at $3.4 million so we're basically the same as we were at this time last year," said Hendrixson.

"Our water and sewer operations or maintenance account can only be spent on water and sewer and nothing else. Last year at this time we were at $1.58 million. This year we're at $1.9 million. We're up about $331,000. Keep in mind we've completely paid for the water plant renovation which was around $2.7 million. Its complete and there is no debt on that. We have no debt at all in the water and sewer," he said.

"The City of Smithville has several cd's. In the general account we have two cd's that total $500,000. In water and sewer we have six cd's which equal $600,000. We have two other cd's, which also fall under water and sewer. Our grinder pumps. We have several sewer customers. We allocate their money. They don't actually have a sewer system. They use grinder pumps. We have $40,000 in one and $20,000 in another for $60,000. That's a total of cd's at $1,160,000. So our total cash on hand at the end of June to the City of Smithville was $6,475,000. Obviously, that's not just money that's setting there. Its constantly being used for our day to day operations," said Hendrixson.

"We have a couple of debt obligations at the moment. Our ladder truck that we have purchased. We paid $250,000 down in our last budget. That leaves around $496,000 left on that. In this budget we've been approved for an airport paving grant, which will pave the runway and the apron. It's a $1.5 million grant and the city is obligated to pay 10% of that which is around $150,000. To pay $150,000 to get $1.5 million is a pretty good deal," he said.

"We've got four police vehicles that we leased two years ago. We have a payment of $26,000 left on this budget and one more equivalent in the next budget," said Hendrixson

"That's just to give you a broad overview where the city finances are. The city is in pretty good, sound financial shape and has been for several years even way before I got here. I inherited a pretty good operation. The citizens should be thankful for that," he said.

(Pictured above left to right: Jake Odom, Connor Apple, Spencer Stanfield, Kevin Kijanski, Zack Vincent, Cole Parsley, Ethan Roller, Zach Taylor, Dylan Young, Travon Johnson, Alex Hall, Jason Judkins, Lucas Phillips, Chase Cantrell

Bottom roll McKenzie Poteete, Grace Webb, Mallory Sullivan, Johnna Roller, Camry White, Frankie Rice)

First Day of School Education Celebration Set for Friday, August 3

July 17, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Michelle Burklow
First Day of School Education Celebration

The Seventh Annual First Day of School Education Celebration for DeKalb County will be held on Friday, August 3 from 6:00 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. downtown around the courthouse square.

The celebration is normally held on registration day, but since this year's registration, August 2 falls on election day, the celebration has been set for the following day, Friday August 3.

Michelle Burklow, Supervisor of Instruction for Pre-Kindergarten to 6th Grade, says the event is free and all parents and students are urged to attend to help kick off the new school year. "Our goal is to provide an evening of activities, education, and enjoyment for the residents of DeKalb County. We will be having information booths, passing out school supplies, refreshments, and various activities for the students to participate in while promoting education."

"This will also provide a time for our teachers and parents to come together to build a foundation for new and positive relationships, right from day one," said Burklow

"Our First Day of School Celebration is an opportunity for our schools to take a leadership role in re-enforcing and improving relationships among parents, teachers, students, and the community. This is the one day each year when it is both easiest and most important to enlist families as partners in our children's education. This is a great time for us to engage our families and make them feel welcome into our schools."

"So come out and join us. Everything is free that evening. We'll have free school supplies, free food, snacks and lots of community people coming together to make this event possible", said Burklow

"There are many volunteers, churches, and organizations that come together to make this event possible for our children so they are able to start school with new supplies and a great positive attitude."

If you would like to help with this event please call Michelle Burklow at 597-4084.

This celebration is totally free of charge to those who attend so make plans now to join the fun downtown Smithville on Friday, August 3rd.

Opponents of DUD Water Plant to Petition State Comptroller for Review

July 16, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

Opponents of a proposed DeKalb Utility District Water Treatment Plant are taking their case to the Tennessee State Comptroller and the Utility Management Review Board.

During a meeting Monday at the County Complex, Darden Copeland of Calvert Street Group told DUD water plant opponents that a petition, signed by more than 1,000 persons will be submitted to state officials this week, more than the 520 signatures needed to force a review of the DUD's plan. Calvert Street Group is a Nashville public relations company, hired by the City of Smithville in April to better educate the public, from the city's perspective, on the impact of a plan by the DeKalb Utility District to build its own water treatment plant.

(PLAY VIDEO OF DARDEN COPELAND AT MONDAY'S MEETING)

M2U00732 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Opponents hope that if state officials conduct a review, they will find no need for the project and block the sale of bonds to help fund it. "There's a rule in Tennessee Code. Tennessee Code 7-82-101. It's known as the Utility District Law of 1937. It says the taxpayers can petition the Utility Management Review Board for a review of the DUD's plan to finance their water treatment plant," said Copeland. " Essentially what this says is, if ten percent of DUD customers sign a petition we can bypass the DUD and go straight to the Tennessee State Comptroller. The mission of the Tennessee Comptroller and the Utility Management Review Board is to look for duplicity, for taxpayer waste to protect ratepayers, and rate increases that are out of line with what their plans and their debt management policy calls for. If we have enough petition signatures collected we can turn that in to the comptroller to force a review. That review will look at rates, rate increases, plan of services, service area, and a lot of the (existing service) problems that have been brought up (by DUD customers). A lot of those problems hopefully will be addressed and looked at by the Tennessee Comptroller. They've (DUD) got a plan for a new water treatment plant but they don't necessarily increase the services rendered and rates are going to go up," he said.

The City of Smithville, according to Copeland, has also retained the services of Nashville attorney and former Metro Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell to help "walk the petition through the process" and get answers from the state. "Their (DUD) customer base is right around 5,200 so ten percent of that would be 520 signatures that we would need. As of today (Monday) we have over 1,000 signatures that we plan to turn in this week, directly in Nashville to the Tennessee Comptroller's office. We have also retained additional counsel, former Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell. He has a law practice in Nashville and understands utility work. He can help us get answers and walk this petition through the process and manage our best interest. He has been retained by the City of Smithville," said Copeland.

Copeland said DUD has already increased rates by 8-1/2% and more increases are coming within the next two years. "For July, DUD rates are going up 8-½ %, and rates will go up next year and the year after that as well," said Copeland. "USDA Rural Development, in their review of the application said that the DUD would need 31% more in revenue before this plan would work," he said. "The DUD has $4 ½ million dollars in loans outstanding already. They've got five million dollars in loans from USDA Rural Development and right now they have put out to bond another $4.25-$4.5 million dollars in additional loans to fund their water treatment plant and to refinance some of their existing debt. So that's a total of about $14 to $14-1/2 million dollars in loans to refinance some old debt but also to build this new water treatment plant. The debt service alone is going to be astronomical for those existing 5,200 customers," said Copeland.

"They (DUD) currently have some of the highest rates in the state already," said Copeland. "Now if you add another fourteen million dollars in loans to pay back, that's going to be on the backs of DUD customers and those rates are going to have to go up. What the number is, remains to be seen. But that's going to be a tough pill for folks to swallow who live out in the county, who pay high water bills as it is," said Copeland.

If the DUD goes through with it's plans, the City of Smithville stands to eventually lose it's largest water customer and over a half million dollars in sales each year.

J.R. Wauford, the city's utility engineer since 1962, who spoke during an April city council meeting, said a DUD water plant is unnecessary since the city's newly renovated water treatment plant has more than the capacity to meet current and future needs of the City of Smithville and the DeKalb Utility District. "You(Smithville) have a four million gallon a day water treatment plant. You're producing about 1.8 million gallons per day. About 700,000 to 800,000 gallons is going to the DeKalb Utility District. Your contract with DUD now gives them the right to buy two million gallons a day which is well within your capability of doing so. They're (DUD) proposing to build a three million gallon a day treatment plant at Holmes Creek," said Wauford.

DUD officials say they do not want to have to depend on Smithville for its water supply. "Our major concern is DUD customers," said DUD Board Chairman Roger Turney at the May 24 meeting. " We buy our water from Smithville. Every year that water rate goes up because the rate from Smithville goes up every year. Our contract (with Smithville) runs out in sixteen months. We looked to the future. We had our auditors and several different other people look at the possibility of continuing to buy water from Smithville or produce our own water. In the long run all the projections come back that our water rates will go down or not go up as much because we will have the capacity to control our own expense and not have to depend on Smithville," said Turney.

USDA Rural Development funds have already been approved to construct a new DUD Raw Water Intake, Raw Water Transmission Line, Water Treatment Plant and distribution system improvements. The proposed plant would be constructed near Holmes Creek Road in the Yolanda Hills area and would have a capacity of three million gallons per day. The intake would be on Center Hill Lake, the Transmission Line along Holmes Creek Road and distribution lines would be along Allen's Chapel, Game Ridge, Turner, South Tittsworth, and Big Rock Roads, and Wheeler Lane.

The DUD is to receive a $5,000,000 loan and a grant of $1,250,000 to fund construction of the water plant. The terms of the loan are forty years at 2.75% interest. The remaining $4,250,000 needed to build the $10.5 million facility would be funded through a bond issue. During a DUD board meeting in May, Chairman Turney said that the DUD is also refinancing other loans to save money. "In this loan and grant we have applied for, we're refinancing some of the loans we already have at a savings of over $400,000 on the money that we have right now because of the historically low interest rates. The time is right. Everything that we've looked at says this is the time to do it," he said.

On May 24, the DUD board, facing a small room full of DUD customers and others in opposition, voted 4-1 to adopt a bond resolution for the authorization and issuance of not to exceed $9-million 250-thousand dollars in aggregate principal amount of waterworks revenue refunding and improvement bonds. Board member Hugh Washer voted against it.

During the meeting, Turney explained what passage of that bond resolution meant. "In essence what it does is, it gives the bond council the right to go into negotiations to set up and to see just what qualifications we'll have. What our bond rating will be and what the bonds will cost. No obligation will go forward. If something happens, we can back out of that and change it, but this gives them the permission to go on and find out exactly to the penny what our bonds will cost, what the interest rate will be, what the interest rate will be for those who buy them, and what the final cost will be," said Turney.

(PLAY VIDEO OF DUD BOARD CHAIRMAN ROGER TURNEY DURING MAY 3RD DUD BOARD MEETING)

Turney said that DUD water rates, while increasing seven percent each year over the next three years, will actually stabilize, if not decrease in time with this new plant. "We had to project to the state what our rate increases would be in order to pay for this grant, loan, and this water treatment plant. Our board passed a seven percent rate increase for this year, seven percent next year, and seven percent the third year with the stipulation that the third year that seven percent increase may not be that much. Let's talk about what that really means. Our minimum bill right now is $17.50. At the end of that three years, the minium bill will go up four dollars and twenty cents. That's the price of 1.2 gallons of gas today. That's not going to break anybody. I don't want anybody's water rate to go up but that's a small price to pay. We figure that our average customer uses about 6,000 gallons. Their water bill now is around $44.00. At the end of the three year period, their water bill will go up $10.50," he said.

Turney also believes that having two water plants in the county would be better than one, especially in the event of some catastrophic episode. "What if something happens, and it did happen sometime ago. A flood came and Smithville was short of water for a while. Thank goodness it wasn't a disaster. It could have been. What happens if that plant goes down. Where do you get your water? There's no other place. With two treatment plants, we can benefit Smithville and they can benefit us and I firmly believe that in the long run not only will DUD customers be happy that we did this, but the City of Smithville will be happy we did it. We can help each other," said Turney.

In addition to the grant/loans which have already been approved for the proposed water treatment plant, DUD Manager Jon Foutch told WJLE Monday the DUD is currently awaiting word on another grant application, in the amount of $500,000 for the project. Foutch added that with interest rates having fallen to a new all time low as late as last week, there is no better time to proceed with this plan than now.

Foutch told WJLE Monday that the DUD's reasons for wanting to build its own water plant have been well explained and publicized. The message is still the same and there are currently no new developments. He added that unlike the City of Smithville which is paying a public relations firm $5,000 per month in this matter, the DUD prefers to spend its money on water related services, rather than having to engage in a PR dispute. Foutch also questions whether the city can legally employ a public relations firm to advocate a position such as this, at taxpayer expense.

The DeKalb Utility District serves parts of a four county area, DeKalb, Cannon, Smith, and Wilson.

Dowelltown Man Charged with Statutory Rape

July 16, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page
Paul D. Gilliam
Lavar Kinte Bass
Halton Wayne Hicks
Brittney Danielle Barnes
Brandon Matthew Byford
Memory Danielle Staggs

An 18 year old Dowelltown man has been charged with the statutory rape of a 14 year old girl.

Paul D. Gilliam is under a $10,000 bond and he will be in court July 26.

Sheriff Patrick Ray said that Gilliam is alleged to have had sexual intercourse on four or five occasions with a 14 year old female at her home on Dale Ridge Road and with her consent. The offense allegedly occurred on May 30.

The case was referred to the sheriff's department and investigated by criminal detectives. Gilliam was arrested on July 11 and brought to the jail.

34 year old Lavar Kinte Bass of Smithville and 30 year old Halton Wayne Hicks of Smithville are charged with having contraband (a cell phone) in a penal institution. Bond for each is $10,000 and they will be in court July 19.

Sheriff Ray said that on Tuesday July 10, both Bass and Hicks had a cell phone in their possession inside a jail cell, where prisoners were held. An officer spotted Bass with the phone on video surveillance. Bass then passed the phone to Hicks. Officers confronted Hicks about the phone and he retrieved it from his body cavity.

Three people have been charged with trying to steal an air conditioner from a residence on Belk Road.

24 year old Brittney Danielle Barnes of Belk Road; 23 year old Brandon Matthew Byford of Bell Street Smithville; and 25 year old Memory Danielle Staggs of Jennings Lane, Smithville are each charged with theft of property under $500. Bond for each is $1,500 and they will be in court on July 26.

According to Sheriff Ray, Staggs, Byford, and Barnes arrived at the home on Friday, July 13th, the residence of Barnes' family. Staggs drove and Byford and Barnes were passengers of the vehicle.

Sheriff Ray said that as Barnes went into the house to speak with her relatives in an effort to distract them, Staggs and Byford removed an air conditioner from the home and placed it in their car. But when the residents speaking with Barnes heard noise coming from their garage, they went to investigate and discovered the theft. They reported the incident to the sheriff's department and the three were arrested.

32 year old Jeremy Edward Woodard of Smithville is charged with criminal impersonation. His bond is $1,500 and he will be in court July 19.

Sheriff Ray said that a drug detective of the sheriff's department confronted Woodard about a warrant against him on Monday, July 9 at the Tractor Supply store in Smithville. Woodard identified himself as Claude A. Johnson and gave a different social security number than his own. He later admitted that his name was Jeremy E. Woodard. He was placed under arrest and brought to the jail.

DeKalb County natives receive scholarships from TTU

July 15, 2012
Emilee Anderson
Brady Evans
Megan Osborne
Brooke Pack
Frank Pursell

Five DeKalb County natives were recently recognized at Tennessee Tech University’s 37th Annual College of Business Scholarships and Awards Banquet.

Emilee Anderson, a senior accounting major at TTU from Smithville, received the L. W. Legge Insurance Agency Endowed Scholarship.

Another Smithville native, sophomore basic business major Brady Evans received the Avo Anderson Memorial Scholarship.

Alexandria native Megan Osborne, a senior marketing major at TTU, received the Avo Anderson Memorial Scholarship.

Brooke Pack of Smithville, a senior human resources major at TTU, received the Winberley Lawson Endowed Scholarship.

Frank Pursell, a senior accounting major at TTU from Smithville, received the Ed Waters Endowed Scholarship.

The five were among 129 students to be recognized in front of donors, award recipients and their families, faculty and business alumni as nearly $143,000 in scholarships was distributed. Seventeen honor students with a 4.0 GPA were acknowledged for their scholastic achievements. In addition, 10 of the university’s Captain Anderson Scholars, one recipient of the university’s Tommy Burks Memorial Business Scholarship, one Alex Cassetty Memorial Intern and one Ladies Auxiliary BusinessMedia Intern were recognized.

“We are proud of this outstanding group of students,” said James Jordan-Wagner, dean of the College of Business. “We are also extremely pleased with the support we receive from businesses and alumni in supplying the private funds for scholarships. In trying times, they have responded by increasing the amount that we could award this year. These awards both recognize achievement and help us attract high-quality students to the college and the university.”

The College of Business and its accounting program were recently reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, making it among the fewer than 5 percent of business programs worldwide to hold the distinction of having both the college and accounting department accredited.

Local ATV Owners Urged to Participate in New Fair Event

July 14, 2012
by: 
Dwayne Page

Who has the best pulling all terrain vehicle? Find out Thursday night, July 26 at 7:00 p.m. as the DeKalb County Fair presents for the first time the "ATV-Mini Rods-and Outlaws" pulling event at the T.C. McMillen Arena.

Jeff McMillen of the DeKalb County Fair Board said this event will include classes for local people to enter and the winners will not only take home awards, but have bragging rights for a whole year. "I really want to stress that this event was added for the local people. We have all these people around here who have four wheelers. They have side by sides, Polaris Rangers, Yamaha's, and all the other brands. They're always bragging about who has the best pulling four wheeler or side by side. We're going to give you the opportunity to have the bragging rights for the year at the DeKalb County Fair on Thursday night, July 26," said McMillen.
ATV Sled Pull - Click here for more amazing videos

"We're going to have eight stock classes for 4x4's. This is just ATV's. They will be zero to 300 cc and 301 cc and up. Then we'll go to four wheel drives from zero to 300 cc, 301 to 500 cc, 501 to 700 cc, and 701 cc and up. There is a weight limit on them. Check the flyers to see what the weight limits are. We will also have one modified class where you can bring anything and race it whether it has headers or whatever, you can pull with it. We'll have one class of the side by sides. We're not going to split them into cc's we'll just run one class of the side by sides. Then classes 9-14 are a mini-rod class and an outlaw class. The outlaw class supposedly has motorcycle motors on them," he said.

(PLAY VIDEO OF JEFF MCMILLEN WHO MENTIONS ALL EVENTS UPCOMING AT THE T.C. MCMILLEN ARENA DURING THE FAIR JULY 23-28)

JEFF 001 from dwayne page on Vimeo.

Entry Fee: ATV $10.00 per Hook. Trophies, 1st, 2nd, 3rd place. Mini Rod/Outlaw TBD Money Payback

Classes

ATV Stock
1. 0-300cc- 2x4- 1,000 lb
2.301-up cc-2x4- 1,000 lb
3. 0-300cc- 4x4- 1,000 lb
4. 301-500cc- 4x4- 1,000 lb
5. 501-700cc- 4x4- 1100 lb
6. 701-up cc- 4x4- 1,150 lb

Modified Open ATV
7. OPEN - 2x4, 4x4- 1,250 lb
8. Stock Side x Side- ANY cc
ALL ABOVE CLASSES MUST HAVE 11/2" HOLE OR TWISTED CLEVIS TO HOOK TO SLED

Mini Rods
9. V-8- 1,900 lb
10. V-8- 2,050 lb
MINI RODS NOT TO EXCEED 410 CI AND MUST BE NATURALLY ASPIRATED

Outlaws
11.750 cc-1,250 lb
12. 1150 cc- 1,300 lb
13. Light Outlaw-1,350 lb
14. Heavy Outlaw- 1,400 lb

For more information, go to www.dekalbcountyfairtn.com.

DTC to Present DeKalb Idol Talent Competition at Fair

July 13, 2012
2011 Winner Elizabeth Koegler (left), Ashlee Whitehead (Peoples Choice)

DTC Communications is proud to announce its sponsorship of the annual DeKalb Idol talent competition at the DeKalb County Fair in Alexandria, Tenn. DeKalb Idol will be held Friday night, July 27, in the Lions’ Club pavilion at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds. DeKalb Idol will immediately follow the Toddler Show, which starts at 6:00 p.m. at the pavilion.

“DTC is excited to take on this popular competition, after it was initially announced it would no longer be held,” said Tom Duggin of myDTC3, who will help to oversee as well as serve as host of this year’s DeKalb Idol. “There is a tremendous amount of talent in this area, and DeKalb Idol has become an extremely popular event at the fair. We hope that along with some of the changes we are making to this year’s Idol that it will continue to grow and be a fan favorite at the DeKalb County Fair.”

(PLAY VIDEO OF 2011 DEKALB IDOL WINNER ELIZABETH KOEGLER)

The biggest change will be in the amount of prize money to be given away to DeKalb Idol winners. The $300 prize to the first place winner will remain the same; however, a $200 award will be given to the competition’s runner-up, and $100 will be awarded to the third place participant, marking the first time monetary awards have also been given to Idol runners-up. In addition, the People’s Choice award will remain in place, with $150 going to the competition’s fan favorite.

Registration for DeKalb Idol will take place the evening of the competition, Friday, July 27, starting at 5:30 p.m., behind the Lions’ Club pavilion. The age restriction for the competition has been lifted; however, only the first 20 contestants to register will be allowed to compete. There will be a $10 registration fee to be paid at the time of registration. All past DeKalb Idol winners are welcome to participate in this year’s competition, and the contest is open to any contestant, whether he or she resides in DeKalb County or not.

A panel of three judges with affiliations to the music business will be on hand to score the contestants. The initial field of up to 20 contestants will be given a 30-second showcase in the first round to display their talents to the judges’ panel. The field will then be trimmed to the Top Ten, with each of those contestants allowed to sing a full song. Three finalists will be chosen from the Top Ten, again with an opportunity to sing one last song for the judges. First, second and third place will be determined from the three finalists, with the People’s Choice being selected from any of the Top Ten contestants.

Singers are urged to have three different songs available for performance, as it will be required to sing a different song in each round. Either instrumental or pre-recorded accompaniment is welcome. Contestants will be scored on vocal ability, stage presence, appearance and audience response. The decision of the judges will be final.

“We want the best talent from all over to come to the DeKalb County Fair to be a part of this year’s DeKalb Idol,” said Duggin. “Being so close to Nashville and having myself seen so much local talent up close, I know there’s no shortage of good singers out there. We hope to put on the best DeKalb Idol yet for visitors of the DeKalb County Fair.”

For more information on DeKalb Idol, contact Tom Duggin at (615) 464-2402.

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