Local News Articles

Ralph Vaughn Named President of Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce

February 17, 2014
Ralph Vaughn

Former Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce President Ralph Vaughn has been named president of the Nashville-based Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce (TNCCC).

During his tenure at the Rutherford chamber from 1986-97, membership grew from 400 to a thousand, and the annual budget increased from $80,000 to more than $750,000. He also was instrumental in helping raise $1.2 million for construction of the chamber building on Memorial Blvd., recruiting new companies to the area and starting the first Convention & Visitors Bureau to help promote tourism.

“It is my honor and privilege to announce the hiring of Ralph Vaughn as president of the Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce. Ralph has a vast history of business success and brings with him an incredible ability to develop and grow chambers of commerce, as well as other organizations,” said TNCCC Board Chairman Bob Gerard.

“However, the most important quality about Ralph is his heart for bringing ministry to the workplace. This aligns perfectly with our mission, and we look forward to where God is taking this organization,” he added.

Most recently, Vaughn handled special projects for Barrett Firearms Manufacturing in Murfreesboro, which included seeking branding and licensing partnerships with manufacturers; serving as publicist and overseeing community, charitable and political programs on behalf of the company; and managing the Barrett real estate development.

Prior to that he served as president and CEO of the Madison-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce in Georgia; CEO of Swanson Developments, a multi-million dollar real estate and property management company in Murfreesboro; and in various news and management positions for two Tennessee radio stations and for the DeKalb Star newspaper in Smithville, Tenn.

In addition to his new role at TNCCC, Vaughn is volunteer president of the Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame, an organization dedicated to preserving and perpetuating the legacy of radio in the state.

"As Christians, we are to honor the Lord in all that we do, especially in the work world. The Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce is a wonderful opportunity for us to do exactly that," Vaughn said.

The Tennessee Christian Chamber of Commerce is a faith-based organization whose mission is to advance the common business interest of its members. Established in January 2008, TNCCC’s purpose is to transform the economic and spiritual climate of the community by invoking the principles of faith at work. More than 300 companies, organizations and individuals are members.

Foster to Seek Re-Election

February 15, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster
Tim Stribling
Chris Smithson

County Mayor Mike Foster has announced that he plans to seek re-election to a fourth term, now that the federal indictment against him has been dismissed.

Foster picked up his qualifying petition Friday from the election commission. Foster will be a candidate for the Democratic nomination for County Mayor on May 6th.

Foster will be challenged in the primary by Tim Stribling, who currently serves as one of the Smithville Aldermen. Stribling plans to file his petition with the election commission on Tuesday.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face a challenge in August by Republican nominee Chris Smithson. Chris Batcher, II has also been issued a petition for the office of County Mayor as an Independent.

The qualifying deadline for this and most other offices is Noon Thursday February 20.

Candidates for other offices who have been issued or filed petitions with the election commission or who have been certified by their party are as follows:

SHERIFF:
Michael J. Agee (Democrat) has filed his petition and is certified by POST to run in May 6th Primary
Larry Flair, Sr. (Democrat) has filed his petition and is certified by POST for May 6th Primary
Patrick Ray (Republican Nominee) and certified by Post for August General Election

COUNTY MAYOR:
Mike Foster (Democrat) has filed his petition for May 6th Primary
Tim Stribling (Democrat) has filed his petition for May 6th Primary
Chris Bratcher, II (Independent) has been issued a petition for August General Election
Chris Smithson (Republican Nominee) for August General Election

COUNTY CLERK:
Michael Clayborn (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
James L. (Jimmy) Poss (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Daniel Critser (Independent) has been issued a petition for the August General Election

GENERAL SESSIONS JUDGE:
Bratten H. Cook, II (Democrat) has filed his petition for May 6th Primary
Margie Miller (Democrat) has filed her petition for May 6th Primary
Mingy Bryant (Republican Nominee) for August General Election

ROAD SUPERVISOR:
James (Jimmy) Sprague (Democrat) has filed his petition for May 6th Primary
Butch Agee (Republican Nominee) for the August General Election

CIRCUIT COURT CLERK:
Katherine Pack (Democrat) has filed her petition for the May 6th Primary

REGISTER OF DEEDS:
Jeffrey McMillen (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary

TRUSTEE:
Sean Driver (Republican Nominee) for the August General Election

COUNTY COMMISSIONER (TWO TO BE NOMINATED/ELECTED FROM EACH DISTRICT)

FIRST DISTRICT:
Bennett Armstrong (Democrat) has filed a petition for the May 6th Primary
Kenneth Clayborn (Democrat) has been issued a petition for the May 6th Primary
Elmer Lee Ellis (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Mason Carter (Republican Nominee) for the August General Election

SECOND DISTRICT:
Jerry Hutchins, Jr. (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Clarence Trapp (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Bobby Joines (Republican Nominee) for the August General Election
Jimmy Midgett (Independent) has filed his petition for August General Election
Joe Johnson (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Frank Thomas (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Myron Rhody (Democrat) has been issued a petition for the May 6th Primary

THIRD DISTRICT:
Jack Barton (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Bradley Hendrix (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Jerry Scott (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Wesley Nokes (Independent) has been issued a petition for the August General Election

FOURTH DISTRICT:
Charles Wayne Cantrell (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
David L. McDowell (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Bobby R. Taylor (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Jonathan Norris (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Anthony (Tony) Poss (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary

FIFTH DISTRICT:
Anita Puckett (Democrat) has filed a petition for the May 6th Primary
Rick Cantrell (Democrat) has filed a petition for the May 6th Primary
Jerry Adcock (Republican Nominee) for the August General Election

SIXTH DISTRICT:
Betty Jean Atnip (Democrat) has filed her petition for the May 6th Primary
Jeffery Barnes (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Marshall Ferrell (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Danny L. McGinnis (Independent) has filed his petition for the August General Election

SEVENTH DISTRICT:
Larry Summers (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Kevin E. Robinson (Democrat) has filed a petition for the May 6th Primary
David Agee (Democrat) has been issued a petition for the May 6th Primary

CONSTABLE (TO FILL VACANT POSITIONS)

FIRST DISTRICT:
Benjamin C. Curtis (Democrat) has filed his petition for the May 6th Primary
Lee Plummer (Republican Nominee) for the August General Election

SECOND DISTRICT:
Chris Tramel (Republican Nominee) for the August General Election
Tony D. Lawson (Independent) has filed his petition for the August General Election
Jonathan Low (Independent) has filed his petition for the August General Election

THIRD DISTRICT:
Travis Bryant (Independent) has filed his petition for the August General Election
Lou Ann Sanders (Independent) has been issued a petition for the August General Election

THE QUALIFYING DEADLINE FOR THE FOLLOWING POSITIONS IS NOON APRIL 3RD

SCHOOL BOARD (ALL CANDIDATES RUN AS INDEPENDENTS OR NON-PARTISAN)

FIRST DISTRICT:
Matthew Boss has filed a petition
Danny Parkerson has been issued a petition

SECOND DISTRICT:
Charles Robinson has been issued a petition

THIRD DISTRICT:
Kenny Rhody has been issued a petition
Jonathan Willoughby has been issued a petition

SEVENTH DISTRICT:
Johnny Lattimore has been issued a petition

STATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WOMAN DISTRICT 17
Jennifer Winfree (Republican) in the State Primary in August

SMITHVILLE MUNICIPAL ELECTION:
Gayla Hendrix has been issued a petition for Alderman
Wallace Caldwell has been issued a petition for Mayor

DOWELLTOWN MUNICIPAL ELECTION:
Ronald Griffith has been issued a petition for Alderman
Keith Farler has been issued a petition for Alderman
Brad Driver has been issued a petition for Alderman

STATE REPRESENTATIVE 40TH DISTRICT:
Krista Eickmann has been issued a petition as an Independent in the State General Election in November

U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger has signed the agreed order of dismissal in the case against Mike Foster

February 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Mike Foster
Hal Hardin

Five months after being indicted by a federal grand jury as a result of the "Living the Dream" investigation, County Mayor Mike Foster has been cleared of the charge against him.

U.S. District Judge Aleta A. Trauger has signed the agreed order of dismissal in the case against Foster.

"I am grateful it's over," said Foster in an interview with WJLE Friday afternoon. " I'm very thankful to my attorneys Hal Hardin and Harold Donnelly. They worked very hard. And I am thoroughly appreciative of the people who would come up to me on a daily basis, saying keep your head up high. We know you. We believe in you. We're praying for you. I'm grateful to the people that repeatedly told me they believed in me," said Foster.

Foster's attorney, Hal Hardin, phoned WJLE Friday afternoon to confirm that the indictment against Foster is being dismissed with prejudice, meaning that this particular case can never be brought against Foster again. Foster has also agreed not to sue for any claims he might have had against the government.

"Prosecutors in the case filed a notice with the court stating that they no longer wished to pursue the charge," said Hardin in his statement to WJLE.

"I always felt Mr. Foster was an innocent man and I knew this day would come. I am just sorry it didn't come sooner. I am very happy for him. I know it has been a tough time for him but he has stood tall through it all and it's over now," said Hardin.

In September, 2013 Former UCDD Executive Director Wendy Askins and former Deputy Director Larry Webb were named in a sixteen count federal grand jury indictment accusing them of conspiring to misuse government funds at the "Living the Dream" complex. The grand jury also indicted Foster, the former Chairman of the UCDD Board of Directors, alleging that he read a statement that he knew was false at the UCDD board's January 19, 2012 meeting to cover up Askins' and Webb's alleged illegal activity.

Foster said he couldn't understand why he was ever indicted in the first place. "This was a federal charge and I was shocked and sickened when I heard this had happened. The charge they had me for was reading a statement handed to me in the middle of a (UCDD) meeting that was on TV. I read it but I clearly said that I don't think this was properly presented, that I don't think we voted on it, and I don't think it is correct, but I remember us talking about it. But then, when everybody else (at the meeting) got to talking about it, four or five spoke up and said "yeah we remember talking about it" and then they voted but I passed. For me (to be accused) of being involved in it was insane to me. I could not believe it," said Foster

The agreed order of dismissal and release, filed in federal court Friday afternoon, February 14 states as follows:

"It appears to the Court from the signatures below of the defendant, the defendant's attorney, and the attorneys for the government that the parties have agreed that the indictment should be dismissed with prejudice."

"The parties and their attorneys further agree that no factual concession or admission concerning any matter in this case is being made by either party but rather the dismissal is based on a mutual desire of the parties and their attorneys to resolve this case without the necessity of further proceedings. The parties and their attorneys further agree that the defendant shall not authorize, file or otherwise pursue any alleged claims he may have against the government for failure to prosecute him, for a claim that he is a "prevailing party", or any other claims he may have pursuant to 18 United States Code, Section 3006A. The parties further agree that the defendant's waiver of his claims is done knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily."

The agreed order has been signed by Foster, his attorney, Hardin and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jimmie Lynn Ramsaur and Scarlett Singleton Nokes. Judge Trauger signed the order Tuesday.

The trial date of former UCDD officials Askins and Webb has been reset for June 3 in U.S. District Court in Nashville

Hospitals Wear Red for Heart Disease Awareness

February 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Hospitals Wear Red for Heart Disease Awareness

The directors and staff of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospitals joined together to show their support for Heart Disease Awareness Day by wearing red on the job. “The truth may surprise you. Heart disease strikes more women than men, and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined,” said Sue Conley- CEO of DeKalb and Stones River Hospitals, “With the right information, education and care, heart disease in women can be treated, prevented and even ended. If you are having any symptoms of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 or go directly to the emergency department. Every moment counts.”

Several symptoms that may mean you are having a heart attack:

•Chest pain or discomfort
•Unusual upper body discomfort
•Shortness of breath
•Breaking out in a cold sweat
•Unusual or unexplained fatigue
•Lightheadedness or dizziness
•Nausea (sick stomach)

“If you see or have any of these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1. Not all these signs occur in every heart attack. Sometimes they go away and return,” said CNO Kim Frazier of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospital, “If some of these symptoms occur, get help fast! Waiting can be damaging or even deadly. Heart disease is the number one killer of women. The more women we tell, the more women we can save.”

To learn more, go to: www.GoRedForWomen.org.

Pictured: Directors and staff of DeKalb Community and Stones River Hospital gather to show their support of Go Red Day celebrating the fight against heart disease in women.

School Board Electronic Attendance Policy Put on Hold

February 14, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
School Board Electronic Attendance Policy Put on Hold
School Board Delays Electronic Attendance Policy

The school board's proposed new electronic attendance policy will have to wait for now.

The Board of Education failed to adopt the policy on second and final reading Thursday night, after unanimously approving it in January.

Under the proposed policy, school board members who are unable to attend regular or special meetings due to a family emergency, military service, or a work related absence would be able to participate through electronic attendance. Third district board member Kenny Rhody might have been able to take advantage of it since he has had to miss meetings for the last several months due to a serious illness. Before the end of the month, the board is expected to vote on Director Mark Willoughby's employment contract.

Fourth district member Billy Miller said Thursday night the proposal should have first gone to the board's policy committee before having been voted on. Miller made a motion that the first reading action taken last month be rescinded and that the measure be reviewed by the policy committee. "Since we do have a policy committee, policies brought before this board should be sent to the policy committee first and should be recommended by that board before coming to the full board," he said.

Miller added that he still has questions about the proposed policy. "There are some issues in here that are probably state laws that have to be mandated but there are clarifications I've tried to get that I have not been able to ascertain yet on some of the wording and verbage of this that I would like to get before I make a second motion on this," he said.

Sixth district member Doug Stephens offered a second to Miller's motion to rescind action from last month and send the measure to the policy committee. Fifth district member W.J. (Dub) Evins, III joined Miller and Stephens in voting for it. Board members Charles Robinson, John David Foutch, and Chairman Johnny Lattimore voted against rescinding action. Since four affirmative votes are needed for passage, Miller's motion failed.

First District member Foutch then made a motion to adopt the electronic attendance policy on second and final reading. Robinson offered a second to the motion. Again, the vote failed 3-3 with Foutch, Robinson, and Lattimore voting for it and Miller, Stephens, and Evins voting against.

Another vote was then taken on Miller's restated motion to rescind and send the proposal to the policy committee. This time, Lattimore joined Miller, Stephens, and Evins in voting for it in order to avoid a further stalemate.

Members of the policy committee are Miller, Stephens, and Rhody. But since Rhody is unable to attend, Chairman Lattimore appointed Robinson to the committee. The policy committee is expected to convene to discuss the proposed electronic attendance policy on Tuesday, March 4.

Under the proposed policy, an absent board member may attend a regular or special meeting by electronic means as often as he or she is able to do so if the absence is because of military service. However, a board member may not participate electronically more than two times per year for absences due to work and or family emergencies. A quorum of the Board must be physically present at the meeting in order for any member to attend electronically.

Any member wishing to participate electronically must do so using technology which allows the Chair to visually identify the member.

The responsibility for the connection lies with the member wishing to participate electronically. No more than three attempts to connect shall be made, unless the Board chooses to make additional attempts.

The policy provides for electronic attendance due to a family emergency. The member must be absent due to the hospitalization of the member or the death or hospitalization of the member's spouse, father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, step-son, step-daughter, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, or sister-in-law.

Electronic attendance is also provided due to a work related absence. Under the policy, the board member must be absent from the county due to work. The member wishing to participate must give the Chair and director at least five days notice prior to the meeting of the member's desire to participate electronically.

Board of Education Adopts 2014-15 School Calendar

February 13, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
School Board

The DeKalb County Board of Education formally adopted the school calendar for the 2014-2015 year Thursday night during the regular monthly meeting.

(CLICK PDF LINK HERE TO VIEW ACTUAL SCHOOL CALENDAR FOR 2014-15)

2014 15 Academic Calendar.pdf (139.97 KB)

The calendar has four dates designated as Early Release/Professional Development Days. Concerned that four abbreviated days might create a hardship for some parents, Fourth District member Billy Miller voted against passage suggesting the calendar should instead have two stockpile days . "I know it probably puts a hardship on some parents to be able to get their kids there (school) and then get them to a facility (daycare) afterwards when they are at work. I have talked to several teachers and it seems like those I've talked to don't seem like the administrative (early release) days do much good and thought maybe we should look in the future of going back to the stock pile days where they had two instead of the four early release days. We've only been one year with the early release days so maybe next year when this calendar comes back up we'll look at that," he said.

"For the educational benefit of the children, I think it (Early Release Days) actually proves to be a good thing," Director Mark Willoughby responded. " We realize it is a hardship on parents finding somebody to take care of their kids but for the educational benefit of the children we think it's a good thing. The calendar committee examines where best to have these (Early Release) days and how best to use those. I realize there may be differences of opinions on that, but with the new regulations and guidelines coming out, that's why we've scheduled these days where they are. They are strategically scheduled and this is what the calendar committee has recommended. If there's a need to change that, we'll look at changing it next year but with the things that are coming on the educators and students throughout the state, it gives our teachers more time to use strategies at particular times during the year and for us to develop professional development," he said.

Under the new calendar, registration for all students will be Thursday, July 31. That will be an abbreviated school day from 7:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m.

Friday, August 1 will be an administrative day for teachers only

The first full day of school for all students will be Monday, August 4

A system wide in-service day will be Monday, July 28

All teachers will report to their individual schools on Tuesday and Wednesday, July 29 and July 30

Students will not attend on Monday, Labor Day, September 1.

Schools will be closed for the fall break October 20-31

Students will be off for the Thanksgiving holiday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, November 26, 27, & 28 and for the Christmas break December 22 through January 2. Friday, December 19 will be the last day students attend before Christmas break and that will be an abbreviated school day. Monday, January 5 will be a stockpile day for teachers. Students will return after the holidays on Tuesday, January 6.

Schools will be closed for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 19 and for President's Day, Monday, February 16.

Schools will be closed for spring break March 30 through April 3

No school for students Memorial Day, Monday May 25.

The following are designated as Early Release dates: Friday, August 29; Friday, October 3; Friday, February 13; and Friday, March 6

Students will not attend on Friday, May 22. That will be an administrative day and all teachers must attend. The last day of school will be Tuesday, May 26. That will be an abbreviated school day and report cards will be sent home.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be held on Tuesday, October 7 and Tuesday, March 10 at DeKalb County High School from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Parent-Teacher Conferences will also be held from 3:00 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 9 and Thursday, March 12 at DeKalb Middle School, Northside Elementary, Smithville Elementary, and DeKalb West School.

DCHS report cards will be sent home on Monday, October 6 and Monday, March 9 and at all other schools on Tuesday, October 7 and Tuesday, March 10.

In other business, Director Willoughby presented his monthly update on personnel moves.

The following have been employed since last month:
Deborah Cunningham, interim Educational Assistant at Smithville Elementary School
Emily Phillips, Music teacher to replace Lori Sexton who resigned
Jasmine Vazquez, certified substitute teacher
Trent Vickers, Maintenance worker

Transfers:
Rena Willoughby, transferred from substitute list to Education Assistant at DeKalb West School

Leave of Absence:
Audrey Russell, teacher at DeKalb West School, granted a leave as requested
Amanda Johnson, teacher at Smithville Elementary School, granted a leave as requested

Resignation:
Kealah Curtis, Smithville Elementary School educational assistant
Aaron Young, maintenance worker
Lori Sexton, Music teacher
Dean Haugh, educational assistant at DCHS, retired
Helen LaFever, cafeteria worker, retired
Kelli Bullard, teacher at Smithville Elementary School

2014 15 Academic Calendar.pdf (139.97 KB)

Foutch Family Honored by Belmont University

February 12, 2014
Ribbon Cutting for New Foutch Alumni House at Belmont University
Katherine Foutch Layman, Lisa Foutch, and Dan Foutch

DeKalb County native Dan Foutch and his wife Lisa have been honored by Belmont University.

The University celebrated Homecoming Saturday, February 8 with the long-anticipated grand opening of a new Alumni House on campus, named for the Foutch family. Thanks to the support of numerous alumni and donors, one of the oldest structures on campus was recently renovated to become home base for Belmont’s 28,000 alumni.

The building originally served as Ward-Belmont’s Clubhouse No. 10 during the early 20th century when 10 clubhouses lined campus in the former Club Village. Each club house hosted Ward-Belmont social clubs for resident students and was used for meetings, meals for special occasions, teas and dances and housing visiting alumni. The original fireplace, banister and beams remain in Clubhouse No. 10 and were integrated into its restoration.

During Saturday’s ribbon cutting, the building was formally named the Foutch Alumni House in honor of alumni Dan and Lisa Foutch, both 1982 graduates from Belmont’s College of Business Administration. A member of Belmont’s Board of Trustees, Dan Foutch is senior vice president of J.J.B. Hilliard, W.L. Lyons, Inc. in Glasgow, Kent.

Dan Foutch said, “Lisa and I feel fortunate to be have been involved with Belmont University since 1978. We have watched as the school has grown from 1,200 students to today’s enrollment of almost 7,000. Having been students, and through our continued involvement with the Board of Trustees, it is exciting to have a special place for Belmont alumni to gather when they return to visit this beautiful campus. We are very pleased to play a part in this first-ever Alumni House at Belmont.”

A 1955 graduate of Belmont College and a Trustee Emeritus for Belmont’s Board of Trustees, church and community leader Helen Kennedy was also honored this weekend as the Alumni House Great Room will bear her name. “I am so grateful to Belmont’s administration for saving a historical house that was once Club Village for Ward-Belmont and Belmont College and will now serve Belmont University as its first Alumni Home.”

The Foutch Alumni House is now home to Belmont’s Office of Alumni Relations and provides a gathering space for groups of 40 to 50 people. Recent alumni as well as those from the University’s former Ward-Belmont days can reunite and reminisce about their college days in the Foutch Alumni House, which will also frequently display alumni artwork throughout the building.

“The significance of this building is as symbolic as it is physical as it has something that every generation of alumni can remember and can identify with,” said Vice President of University Advancement Bo Thomas. “We hope this first-ever space specifically created for alumni conveys a message to all alumni how important they are and how much we want to stay engaged and connected with them.”

Dan is a graduate of DeKalb County High School and was a scholarship basketball player at Belmont University. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Joe Foutch.

Town of Alexandria Files Lawsuit to have Contract Declared Null and Void

February 12, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page

The Town of Alexandria has taken legal action in Chancery Court against a Georgia Limited Liability group who allegedly reneged on an agreement to find a new water source for the municipality.

The lawsuit, filed December 30, 2013 against Amnisos Group, LLC, Ross Everett and Kay Nichols Everett, seeks to have the court declare a purported agreement between the defendants and the Town of Alexandria to be null, void, and of no effect.

The town is also asking the court to find the defendants to be liable to the city pursuant to the Tennessee False Claims Act for three times the amount of damages the town has sustained and that they further be held liable to the town for a civil penalty for each false claim made. The town is seeking any other further and general relief to which it may be entitled.

According to the lawsuit, "On or about March 22, 2011, the Town of Alexandria and Ross Everett, purporting to act on behalf of Amnisos Group, LLC, executed a document which purports to be a "Water Supply Contract" between the town and Amnisos. The contract states in part that "The Alexandria Water District seeks and desires to obtain a new water supply to meet the present and future needs of its customers within its serviced area."

The city currently has a water contract with the Smith County Utility District.

Among other obligations, Amnisos was required to provide the town a "Water Availability Report" which was to include, among other things, a description of the availability of water sufficient to furnish water to all the citizens, residents, and businesses within the Town of Alexandria. The "Water Availability Report" was required to be furnished by Amnisos Group within twelve months following the execution of the agreement.

On February 2, 2012, Ross Everett prepared a letter purporting to bear the name of Amnisos Group LLC but, according to the lawsuit, the correspondence was insufficient to satisfy the requirement of a "Water Availability Report". The letter stated in part that "Working with hydro-geologists, civil engineers and other water industry professionals, we find there to be ample water available so as to allow a water source to be developed to amply supply the water required to meet the terms and conditions. It is our intent to continue our efforts to have the necessary source, treatment facility, connections, and operations in place by the initial delivery as called for in the ordinance (granting the contract)."

On June 26, 2012, the town determined that, to the extent an enforceable agreement existed, Amnisos Group LLC was in breach of the agreement and voted to give Amnisos the right to cure the breach, and set a deadline of December 31, 2012 for the defendant, Amnisos "to show that you have an adequate amount of water available to provide the Town of Alexandria" A letter was sent to Amnisos dated July 17, 2012, notifying the group accordingly.

According to the lawsuit, none of the defendants provided any further "Water Availability Report" to the town prior to December 31, 2012. As a result, on January 17, 2013, the town wrote to the Amnisos Group notifying them that their failure to comply terminated the agreement.

On January 28, 2012, the Georgia Secretary of State notified Amnisos Group LLC that their limited liability company was facing dissolution and on September 11, 2012, Amnisos was administratively dissolved and has remained so since, according to the lawsuit.

The town claims that the letter dated February 2, 2012 from Ross Everett was false and untrue in which he claimed that Amnisos had been working with hydro-geologists, civil engineers, and other water industry professionals with respect to ample water available within the Town of Alexandria.

The city contends that February 2, 2012 letter was mailed shortly after Amnisos Group was notified the company was facing administrative dissolution and that the letter was little more than an attempt to perpetrate a fraud on the Town of Alexandria.

According to the city's complaint, neither of the defendants, Amnisos Group LLC nor Ross Everett had drilled any test wells in the town; acquired any real property in DeKalb County; caused any pump test to be conducted in the county; nor requested any site evaluation from the Tennessee Division of Water Supply as of February 2, 2012, March 22, 2012, nor as of December 31, 2012 and that Amnisos failed to produce a "Water Availability Report" as contemplated by the purported agreement.

At a mediation conducted on October 28, 2013, Ross Everett furnished for the first time a letter from the State of Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Division of Water Supply relating to water in Alexandria bearing the signature of Johnny Walker, TDEC Division of Water Resources. This letter states that a site visit was made on February 12, 2013, over a year after the original letter from Amnisos Group LLC and after the December 31, 2012 extended deadline had expired. No site visit was made by TDEC prior to December 31, 2012 for or on behalf of Amnisos Group LLC, according to the lawsuit.

Also at the mediation on October 28, 2013, Everett furnished for the first time a document entitled "Tennessee Division of Water Supply New Water Source and Site Evaluation form" dated February 12, 2013. No such evaluation was prepared within one year of the original agreement date nor by the December 31, 2012 extended deadline, the lawsuit continued.

In its request for a declaratory judgment from the court, the Town of Alexandria asks that the purported contract with Amnisos be ruled null, void, and without effect and the Chancellor find that the purported contract was procured by fraud in that the defendants made false and misleading statements to the officials of the Town of Alexandria both with respect to their capacity to develop a water supply to serve the citizens of the town, their intent to make any efforts to do the same, and perpetrated the fraud by false and misleading statements in the February 2, 2012 letter with respect to the efforts supposedly employed.

Amnisos was dissolved on September 11, 2012. Notwithstanding the dissolution, Ross Everett individually appeared on October 28, 2013 at a mediation and attempted to demand money from the Town of Alexandria, according to the town's complaint. "The defendants, Ross and Kay Everett have failed to follow the corporate formalities with respect to applicable limited liability company law and these persons are individually liable for the conduct of the limited liability company," the city contends.

"The defendant, Amnisos Group LLC is nothing but an alter ego of the defendants, Ross and Kay Nichols Everett and these two persons are individually liable for all of the conduct of this limited liability company," the town concludes.

The Town of Alexandria is being represented in the case by Cookeville attorney Daniel H. Rader IV.

February a Busy Month for the Trustee's Office

February 11, 2014
by: 
Dwayne Page
Sean Driver

As of Monday, February 10 the DeKalb County Trustee's Office had collected 56% or $4.2 million of the $7.5 million in 2013 county property taxes to be collected by February 28. That includes property, residential, commercial, personal, and public utility taxes.

Trustee Sean Driver said collections to date are in line with those of previous years which means the remainder of February will be a busy month for the Trustee's Office as taxpayers rush to beat the deadline.

Friday, February 28 is the last day to pay the 2013 property taxes before penalties start accruing March 1.

The Trustee's Office is open from 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Monday- Friday. "Remember, if the last day comes and you can't make it to the post office to postmark your payment, we do have a drop box on the outside wall of the county offices section of the county complex," said Driver.

The Trustee's Office also offers the State of Tennessee Tax Relief. "If you would like to check on a possible tax relief for 2013, come and see us at 732 South Congress Boulevard, Room 103 or call us at 597-5176," said Driver. " The last day to sign up for tax relief is April 7. Also any 2012 unpaid property taxes will be turned over to the Chancery Court on April 1," he added.

Driver said you have four options for paying 2013 property taxes. "You can come by in person at the Trustee's Office or you may mail in your payment. We also offer online bill pay at www.tennesseetrustee.com. You go to that website and select DeKalb County and then follow the instructions. Business Information Systems has set this up for Trustees across the state and there is a fee to use your debit or credit card. If you do pay online the fee to use your debit or credit card is 2.75% of your total tax bill. Or you can use an e-check for $2.50 on any total. Online accepts Mastercard, Visa, Discover, and American Express. Business Information Systems collects the fees, not DeKalb County" said Driver.

"We are also accepting partial payments in any amount. Remember, whatever portion of taxes is unpaid for 2013 using the partial payment plan, only the portion left unpaid will accrue at 1.5% penalty and interest per month starting March 1. The office can still receive partial payments on 2012 delinquent taxes up until March 31" said Driver.

NHC Smithville Well Positioned for 2014

February 11, 2014
NHC Smithville Well Positioned for 2014

NHC Smithville, a 120 bed skilled rehab center, recently announced key measures for year-end 2013 and plans for 2014.

For 2013, NHC completed a record 251 admissions. This number represents a sharp increase from two years ago when there were 137 admissions. NHC was also able to return 61% of patients’ home, a steady increase from 49% just two years ago. “We are honored to provide quality care to DeKalb County and the surrounding communities,” Administrator Clint Hall said. “Having nearly doubled the number of admissions in two years and increasing the number of patients returning home are true measures of being a rehab center of choice in the community. Our team of professionals works tirelessly to help our patients achieve their highest level of function and these numbers bear that out.”

NHC also made significant economic contributions to DeKalb County in the way of employment and tax revenue. NHC employs 125 skilled professionals and paid out over $3.6 million in wages in 2013. NHC contributed nearly $45,000 in city and county taxes and over $250,000 in state taxes in 2013. NHC also provided job training to 80 graduates of the Certified Nurse Assistant course and served as a clinical site rotation for Registered Nurse/Licensed Practical Nurse students at Motlow College and Tennessee College of Applied Technology. “We view our role in the local economy as very important,” Hall continued. “NHC is a responsible employer in our community and contributes to the quality of life in DeKalb County.”

Preparations are already underway for a successful 2014. Significant investment will be made in capital projects at NHC Smithville to improve the experience for our customers. “In addition to capital improvements, we look forward to improving some of our internal systems and streamlining our procedures so that our patients and families experience a seamless transition from hospital to NHC, then back home,” Hall said.

NHC Smithville offers inpatient and outpatient rehabilitative care and accepts Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, workers compensation, managed care, and private funds. The inpatient healthcare center offers skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to adults of all ages on a short-term and continuing care basis. NHC Smithville’s outpatient clinic offers physical, occupational, and speech therapy services. For more information about NHC Smithville, visit www.nhcsmithville.com or call (615) 597-4284.

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